To the editor,

Mr. Grell’s letter on Feb. 18 deserves a response.

 He mentioned the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The oil in that pipeline was not destined for US refineries so it couldn’t affect our gasoline supply or prices. The environmental damage could be horrendous. The Keystone XL pipeline’s owner, Trans Canada, has an existing pipeline in the US. It had 21 reported spills totaling 820,000 gallons of toxic crude oil from 2010 to 2019. The XL pipeline would cross 1,073 bodies of water and tens of thousands of acres of wetlands. It would run within a mile of more than 3,000 wells that provide drinking and irrigation water. The construction job losses have been overblown. There would have been 2,000 jobs lasting two years and only 50 permanent jobs. With the potential pollution from an oil spill, the real jobs in jeopardy would be the 110,000 agricultural jobs that produced $41.6 billion worth of food in 2012.

 Mr. Grell goes on to the minimum wage. A 2019 Congressional Budget Office study estimated that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025 might cost 1.3 million jobs. It would also boost pay for 27 million workers and bring 1.3 million Americans out of poverty. I don’t want to minimize the job losses but, on balance, increasing the minimum wage might be a good trade-off. Also, the increase would be in stages to help small businesses adjust. Maybe Mr. Grell is OK with hard-working Americans working three jobs to put food on their table, but I am willing to pay a little more where I have to and know that these workers have a better chance to have a better life. 

Jeff Benny


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