Showdown Over Keystone Pipeline

ABC News' Martha Raddatz goes one-on-one with TransCanada CEO Russ Girling as the Senate prepares to vote on the company's Keystone XL Pipeline.
6:15 | 11/16/14

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Transcript for Showdown Over Keystone Pipeline
Tuesday's critical senate vote on the controversial keystone oil pipeline pitting president Obama against the gop and some of his fellow democrats. Key questions this morning, how many jobs would the project really create and would you see lower gas prices? We'll take that on with the CEO developing the pipeline after chief white house correspondent Jonathan Karl. Reporter: The keystone pipeline played a starring role in many of the year's biggest races. Congressman Cory Gardner supports building the keystone pipeline. The keystone pipeline. The keystone pipeline. The keystone pipeline. Reporter: Red state democrats vowed to fight for it too. But too many democrats play politics by dragging their feet on the keystone pipeline. Reporter: The pipeline would send tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska where it would hook up with existing pipeline to go to refineries on the gulf coast and supporters say it would create jobs and help bring energy prices down. Critics say the environmental costs are just too high. For nearly six years, president Obama has delayed making a decision on whether or not to approve it. Nobody is pushing harder for the keystone pipeline than democrat Mary landrieu, desperate to burnish her drill, baby, drill image as she faces a tough runoff election in Louisiana on December 6th. I believe it is time to act. Reporter: In an effort to throw landrieu a lifeline senate democratic leader harry Reid is finally allowing ketone to come up for a vote. Liberals are livid. As for republicans, they think landrieu is going down anyway and see a long awaited goal finally in reach. Asked about it Friday, president Obama was critical of the bill but never uttered the word veto. Soon he will finally have to say exactly where he stands. For "This week," Jonathan Karl, ABC news, Washington. And joining us now, Russ Girling, CEO of transcanada, the company developing the keystone pipeline. Thanks for joining us. If this passes and the president vetoes it, can you really wait any longer? What are the chances this ever gets built after six years? I think there's a very high probability this pipeline gets built. Since we started the project the demand for it has just continued to increase. Production in the U.S. Is up by 2 million barrels a day and in Canada up by a million barrels a day. The need for transportation continues to grow and the place where these producers want to put those barrels is into the gulf coast of the United States, so our shippers have not wavered one bit over the last six years. They still want this to happen and as long as they're there we're going to continue to push to make it happen. I want to bring up Mitt Romney's former energy adviser Harold ham who is CEO of Oklahoma based continental resources said in an interview this week that both the U.S. And international oil markets are awash in oil which has driven the prices down sharply, so if we have an oil oversupply, do we really need more Canadian oil here? Oh, I think, yeah, definitely. The United States still consumes about 15 million barrels a day and even with the production increases only produces about 10 of its own, 9 of its own so it still needs to import 6 million to 7 million barrels a day every day and you can see that as far out to the future as you can see and I would say the best place to get that is from Canada so as I said the need for this pipeline continues to grow and I guess it's exactly what I just said is because you've got more oil being produced, you need to transport it and, unfortunately, what's happened at the current time is that oil is being transported by rail which is far less safe and more environmentally intrusive than the pipeline, so it makes even more sense today to -- Mr. Girling, I want your reaction to what president Obama said on Friday. Listen to this. Understand what this project is, it is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land down to the gulf where it will be sold everywhere else and it doesn't have an impact on U.S. Gas prices. Your reaction to that, sir. Well, I think that the state department is quite clear on that after, you know, six years and, you know, some thousands and thousands of pages. It comes to the conclusion that all of this oil will be used in the gulf coast, 100% of our shippers continue to say that the oil will come out of Canada and be delivered to the gulf coast. It will create 9,000 jobs. I know that it's going to hire those people to actually construct the pipeline and the department of state's own report says that it'll create 42,000 jobs, $3.5 billion of gdp increase in the U.S. Economy, $2 billion in wages. I think it's hard to say -- There are others who say the jobs will not be so great going as low as 4,000 jobs and that the jobs will only be here for a couple of years. The state department, you mentioned the state department, says that once the proposed project enters service, operations would require approximately 50 total employees in the U.S. Yeah, the state department report details every type of job and, yes, the actual operating jobs are about 50, but that doesn't include all the other jobs that come with it, as I said, the state department report concludes about 42,000 jobs including all the direct and indirect jobs. For about two years. No, the 42,000 jobs is an ongoing enduring jobs and just think about things like property tax, for example, it will pay probably in the neighborhood of $50 million in property tax in those communities across which we traverse, there's about 29 counties we traverse, property taxes in total will increase about 10%. At $50 million a year will go to creating jobs -- I think there's a lot of debate to come on this. We really appreciate you joining us this morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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