Keystone Rejection Slams Brakes on Economic Recovery
ARLINGTON,VA - The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) expressed its disappointment and frustration over the Obama administration's decision to reject a permit for TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline.
The proposed Keystone Pipeline would stretch nearly 1,700 miles from Canada to Texas and deliver oil from the Alberta oil sands and the northwestern U.S. to Gulf Coast refineries. The $7 billion project would create thousands of union jobs, but has come under fire from environmental groups opposed to the pipeline's route through U.S. states as well as the fact that it will be transporting fossil fuels.
On January 18 the U.S. State Department, which has jurisdiction over the project, rejected TransCanada's application. Despite the fact that the pipeline has been under review by the government for several years, the administration said it did not have enough time to fully assess the project before a legislatively imposed deadline of Feb. 21. The administration also said it had concerns over the pipeline's route through a portion of Nebraska.
"By rejecting TransCanada's permit, the Administration has not only halted construction of a vitally important oil pipeline - it has also blocked the creation of a pipeline of new jobs and economic opportunity for thousands of union workers and their contractor partners," said Steve Lindauer, CEO of TAUC.
TAUC represents more than 2,000 union contractor firms in the industrial maintenance and construction fields. TAUC member companies employ tens of thousands of skilled craft workers from 14 building trades unions to complete projects in the energy, heavy manufacturing and automotive sectors. In fall 2011 TAUC participated in a rally in Washington, D.C. in support of the Keystone Pipeline. The rally was organized by several building trades unions, including the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).
"The entire country is suffering from the current economic downturn, but the situation is particularly dire in construction and related fields," Lindauer said. "Unemployment rates in these industries are much higher than the national average. Skilled union workers are ready and willing to work, but opportunities are scarce. The Keystone XL Pipeline would get them back to work almost immediately, but thanks to the overblown concerns of a few environmental activists - who seem more interested in talking points instead of facts - they will be forced to sit and wait even longer."
TransCanada has indicated it will file a new application for the pipeline that includes a revised route through Nebraska.
"TAUC fully supports TransCanada's continued efforts to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will benefit not only the United States but also our Canadian neighbors," Lindauer added. "The fact is, if the pipeline isn't built, the oil is still going to be used. It will be sent to China along with any new jobs and economic benefits. On behalf of union craft workers and our contractors, we urge the administration to quickly review and approve the new application so that our country's economic recovery can finally begin."