Keystone Pipeline Project Has Positive Impact On Cushing Economy

Friday, December 14th 2012, 6:49 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The Keystone pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf has not been without controversy. On Friday, a judge said work could resume in Texas after a landowner sued the company.

But in Cushing where work is well underway, there is little debate about the economic impact of the project.

The pipe is just beginning to go into the ground and no oil is flowing yet, but the Keystone pipeline is already pumping tons of money into the Cushing economy.

Mark Dalberg is from Minnesota. He's been here been here since August mostly working on the pipeline.

"We started out seven days a week and now we're down to six," he said.

But when he's not working, he's sleeping in a Cushing hotel, and eating at Cushing restaurants.

At Naifeh's Deli, owner Joe credits a 15 to 18 percent increase in sales to all the new people in town.

"There's a lot of activity in the Cushing area bringing a lot of people in from out of town," Joe said.

There are no exact numbers about what all this has meant for Cushing's unemployment, but officials say it is very low. According to Brent Thompson, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, if you want to work in Cushing there's a job.

"I don't know if we've seen the full brunt of it yet, and when I say brunt, that's a positive brunt," Thompson said.

Thompson says the project is projected to produce 1300 jobs. Some local people will be hired, and others like Dalberg will be from out of town.

"They'll all not be local jobs, there will be people working who are from here and other from out of town who have a place to eat and have to buy gas and have to buy toothpaste," he said.

Thompson says he expects the money to keep flowing until the middle of next year.