Prominent labour unions join call against Keystone XL oil pipeline, offer alternatives

• August 22, 2011

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By Ryan Salmon
“We call on the State Department NOT to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline or to take any actions that lead to the further extraction of Tar Sands oil from Alberta, Canada,” said the presidents of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) in a statement today.

The two union leaders have right what Keystone XL proponents have wrong. They said, “We need jobs, but not the ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil.”

Yesterday, we uncovered how TransCanada, the company behind Keystone XL, has been using Americans’ insecurity about the economy to their advantage by steadily inflating their jobs claims for the project. Their jobs claims have gone from 3,500 to 118,000. But regardless of how many jobs the pipeline might create, the Obama Administration needs to take a hard look at the trade-offs. Whether President Obama and Secretary Clinton like it or not, the permit decision for Keystone XL has come to symbolize a fork in the road for the Administration and will help define its legacy on clean energy and climate change.

They can permit a pipeline that would raise America’s fuel bill by $4 billion per year, have 91 spills of more than 50 barrels during its first 50 years of operation, increase our annual carbon footprint as much as adding more than 4 million cars to the road, and deepen our dependence by nearly 1 million barrels per day on the most destructive source of oil on the planet.

Or, as the two union leaders recommend, they can make “public investments in infrastructure modernization and repair, energy conservation and climate protection a means of putting people to work and laying the foundations of a green and sustainable economic future for the United States.”

Read more on Wildlife Promise.

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About the Author

Karl Burkart is the Digital Communications Director for the GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, and TckTckTck, a network of 400+ diverse organizations working around the world for greater action on the growing problem of climate change. Karl also blogs on technology and the environment for a variety of publications. You can follow him on Twitter @greendig.

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