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LIUNA Adds Workers’ Voice to Senate KXL Hearing Record

Washington, D.C. (March 13, 2014) – During the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing today about “Keystone XL and the National Interest Determination,” Chairman Robert Menendez entered a letter into the record from Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America. In the letter, O’Sullivan reiterated the fact that “this project will create thousands of jobs for members of our unions, who will receive wage and benefit packages that set the standard for the construction sector.”

The full text of the letter follows:

                                                                        March 13, 2014

The Honorable Robert Menendez

Chairman

Committee on Foreign Relations

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Senator Menendez:

On behalf of the 500,000 members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), I would like to thank you for holding this important hearing on the Keystone XL and the National Interest Determination, and for affording me the opportunity to submit this in the record. 

As you and the Committee are aware, LIUNA strongly supportsthis important energy infrastructure project which will move oil from deposits in Canada to existing refineries in Texas and Oklahoma. The politicization of the Keystone XL has dragged out what should have been a relatively straightforward permitting process into a five year ordeal.  No infrastructure project should take this long to move through the approval process.

Too many hard-working Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL Pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.  TransCanada has executed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the four construction crafts that are signatories to the National Pipeline Agreement that will cover pipeline construction.  This project will create thousands of jobs for members of our unions, who will receive wage and benefit packages that set the standard for the construction sector.

Many of the Pipeline’s opponents do not understand the importance of the economic and jobs impact that the Keystone XL Pipeline will have.  They hide behind unfounded and unrealistic expectations that if the project is not built, the development of oil shale deposits will cease. 

However, refineries in the Gulf Coast will continue to seek supplies of heavy crude oil.  The failure to secure a long-term energy supply from our Canadian allies will cause these facilities to continue to rely on oil supplied by unstable foreign regimes where environmental regulations scarcely exist, and oil profits are used to oppose the United States’ economic and security interests. 

As the Final Environmental Impact Statement reaffirms, if the Keystone XL is not built, the extraction crude from the Canadian oil sands will continue and other transportation modes will move the product to market.  The total annual greenhouse gas emissions (direct and indirect) attributed to the rejection of the Keystone XL range from 28 to 42 percent greater than for the proposed pipeline.

The Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline in the world.  The special conditions developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the State Department – and voluntarily agreed to by TransCanada – have a degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current regulations.  Additionally, in order to address environmental concerns about the Nebraska Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer, TransCanada agreed to a 195 mile rerouting of the Pipeline.

Construction of this pipeline will also produce needed government revenue at the federal, state, and local levels.  These new resources can help our state and local governments protect their communities from harmful budget cuts that have led to layoffs and the elimination of much needed services. 

If the opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline succeed in killing this project, good jobs will not be created and the economic and social benefits of the project will not be realized.  No local, state, and federal revenue will be generated by the construction and operation of the pipeline. There will be no additional income to property owners and businesses along the pipeline route. And, critically important to our union, the jobs that will be created by the massive private investment will be lost.  LIUNA believes that any fair consideration of the Pipeline would conclude that this project is clearly in the national interest.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,                                                                                  

 

TERRY O’SULLIVAN

General President

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