November 24, 2011
Construction unions support TransCanada Pipelines Keystone XL
The Building and Construction Trades Department (BCDT) of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) announced Thursday its Canadian affiliate “unreservedly” supports the Keystone XL pipeline, which TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) of Calgary claims will create 20,000 construction jobs in the United States.
Canadian Building Trades, which is affiliated with international unions representing labourers, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters and other construction trades, stated in a press release that the Keystone XL “will create longer term employment in both Canada and the United States in refinery conversion projects, operations and maintenance.”
If approved, the $7-billion Keystone XL would extend 3,600 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta. to a point near terminals in Nederland, Texas, carrying crude oil extracted from the Canadian oilsands.
Earlier this month the U.S. State Department, which is reviewing the proposal, ordered TransCanada to explore alternate routes that would avoid the Sandhills region and Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska.
In September, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver voiced his support for Keystone XL, noting that 57 conditions imposed by the American authorities upon TransCanada mean that it would be safer than domestically-constructed pipelines.
TransCanada president Russ Girling stated in a recent press release that the construction of the pipeline, if approved, would employ 20,000 Americans, including pipe fitters, welders, mechanics, electricians and heavy equipment operators.
The proposal has been opposed by environmental groups and a variety of famous people, including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and actress Daryl Hannah, who starred in the 1990s remake of the movie Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.
But BCDT said in a recent press release that Keystone XL “will create longer term employment in both Canada and the United States in refinery conversion projects, operations and maintenance. Moreover these jobs will keep an enormous amount of money circulating within North America. Energy security for North America comes from developing the oilsands and other Canadian energy projects.”
The press release quoted Joseph Maloney, Chairman of the BCDT Canadian Executive Board and International Vice President for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers stating: “Jobs in Canada’s oilsands are vital to North America. They support our standard of living and to be blunt, what is better for the North American economy, to support the United States and Canada or to support unfriendly foreign regimes?”
In addition to the boilermakers, the Canadian executive board of BCDT includes representatives from: the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting industry of the United States and Canada, International Union of Operating Engineers, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, International Association of Heat and Frost Allied Workers, International Union of Elevator Constructors, Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons’ International Association, Teamsters Canada, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Laborers’ International Union of North America, International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; and International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.
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