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Building Trades Union’s criticizes rejection of pipeline


FEBRUARY 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Building Trades Union’s criticizes rejection of pipeline


LEHIGH VALLEY, January 20th- President Barack Obama rejected a Canadian company’s plan to build a pipeline spanning the United States intended to carry oil across six states to Texas refineries on January 18th citing environmental concerns.

The 1,700 mile pipeline was to carry oil from western Canada to Texas passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. The plan was proposed by the Calgary based TransCanada which was part of the Keystone XL project and would cost around $7 billion.

The decision by Mr. Obama was praised by environmental groups and others including the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

Republicans and some labor organizations assailed the decision as a “job-killer” and said they would fight-on for passage of the pipeline plan.

The United States State Department said the decision was made “without prejudice,” meaning TransCanada can submit a new application once the environmentally sensitive areas is established.

The Chief Executive Officer of TransCanada said the company plans to do that.

“As the State department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on the by congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Mr. Obama said in a Whitehouse press released.

Mark Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO criticized Mr. Obama’s decision.

“Today, the words “We Can’t Wait” truly ring hollow for skilled craft construction professionals across the nation. Those are the words that have been uttered by President Obama time and time again as he states he will work around an obstructionist United States Congress to take action to address our nation’s continuing unemployment crisis. One clear opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to unemployed Americans was the approval of the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

With a national unemployment rate in construction at 16 percent, it is beyond disappointing that President Obama placed a higher priority on politics rather than our nation’s number one challenge, jobs,” stated Mr. Ayers.

The Building and Construction Trades Department is an alliance of 13 national and international unions that collectively represent over 2 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada.

“Envirnmental activists who are not saddied with the economic and psychological scars that accompany long-term unemployment will applaud the fact that they successfully induced the White House to block this project. Meanwhile, thousands of proud Americans throughout the heartland will once again be faced with the terrifying prospect of losing their homes and their livelihoods as they struggle to find work.

Jobs remain at the top of the list of voters concerns heading into the 2012 elections. Our members has anxiously embraced the hopeful rhetotic of “We Can’t Wait” in response to an unproductive Congress that seems incapable of acting on meaningful job creation initiatives,” added Mr. Ayers.

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