Unions Split Over Keystone XL Pipeline

[oldembed src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UJjnaYCt1mk" width="425" height="300" resize="1" fid="21"]

The United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and HVAC Service Techs released the above video earlier this week, expressing support for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would transport dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico across American soil. Their argument for the pipeline in the video, which is:

Focused partially on refuting claims of environmental danger beneath American soil, partially on the need to grow the union workforce through the pipeline’s construction, and partially on the ability to free the nation from international oil dependence, the UA supplies three sides of the argument not frequently articulated in media coverage of the project.

This stands in stark contrast to the strong opposition to the pipeline expressed by a host of progressive groups, including unions such as the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU). The presidents of those two unions issued a joint statement on the pipeline:

“We share the Environmental Protection Agency’s concerns conveyed to the State Department on two occasions (most recently on June 11, 2011). These concerns cover the potential impacts to groundwater resources from pipeline spills, the high levels of GHG emissions associated with the proposed project, and the inevitable damage to the health of communities affected by the increase in refinery emissions.

Approval of this project at this time would therefore be reckless given the EPA’s own assessment of the environmental risks.

“We are also concerned that Keystone XL could double the amount of highly toxic Tar Sands oil being imported into the United States. The Tar Sands has destroyed vast areas of boreal forest and inflicted havoc on local communities. The expansion of the Tar Sands will inflict immeasurable harm on both people and the environment and impede our country’s and the world’s efforts to transition to a green and more sustainable economy.

“We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil. There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair, transportation infrastructure that needs to be renewed and developed. Many jobs could also be created in energy conservation, upgrading the grid, maintaining and expanding public transportation—jobs that can help us reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency.


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