Along the route the oil would have taken out of Alberta and through the United States via the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada estimated that the project would have created 6500 construction jobs for two years plus 7000 one-year jobs for manufacturers of supplies. For landowners, the pipeline project would have had mixed consequences. TransCanada negotiated with thousands of landowners along the Keystone XL route, offering them money for the right to install the pipeline across their land. Many were happy to accept payments, but landowners who declined TransCanada’s offers found their land rights taken away by eminent domain—the policy by which courts set aside private property rights to make way for projects judged to be for the public good.

 

The landowner is paid an amount determined by a court to be fair and cannot appeal the decision. In Alaska, the oil industry gains support for drilling by paying the Alaskan government a portion of its revenues. Since the 1970s, the state of Alaska has received more than $70 billion in oil revenues. One-quarter of these revenues are placed in the Permanent Fund, an investment fund that pays yearly dividends to all citizens. Since 1982, each Alaska resident has received annual payouts ranging from $331 to $2072.

 

TransCanada’s offers found their land rights taken away by eminent domain—the policy by which courts set aside private property rights to make way for projects judged to be for the public good.