TransCanada announced plans to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline to carry so-called tar sands oil from Alberta province to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.
A report from Cornell University's Global Labor Institute states that 20 permanent pipeline operation jobs are expected in the six states along the pipeline route.
Terry Cunha, a spokesman for TransCanada, told United Press International in an e-mail statement that the Cornell study had misrepresented the issue.
"We haven't figured out a way yet to build a $7 billion pipeline with robots or ghosts so we'll rely on 20,000 hardworking American men and women to get the job done," his statement read.
Cornell's study highlights the corrosive nature of so-called tar sands oil designated for Keystone XL, yet Cunha notes the new pipeline would "likely" be one of the safest available. Alberta province's Energy Resources Conservation Board, he adds, found that there are no "significant differences" in the frequency of oil spills from conventional crude oil pipelines and tar sands oil pipelines.
Cunha added that the GLI is backed by unions and activists who oppose Keystone XL.
"We just wish that those who oppose this project would rely on the facts instead of continuing to repeat misinformation and promote work that has been repeatedly discredited," his statement read.