Trumka: Build Keystone

WASHINGTON (PAI)–The AFL-CIO’s agenda for the incoming 114thCongress apparently includes construction of the entire Keystone XL oil pipeline, with no qualifications.


Asked about the controversial project during his post-election press conference on November 5, federation President Richard Trumka gave it his endorsement.  “There are a number of economic and job issues that we want done, and that’s one of them,” he said..


In the past, Trumka has said the fed would support Keystone if it had sufficient environmental safeguards.   Building trades unions have campaigned for six years for the Democratic Obama administration to approve the pipeline, which would run from the Montana-Canada border to a large oil terminal in Oklahoma.


Keystone’s southern leg, already built under a project labor agreement – which puts unionists to work erecting the pipe – is operating, from Oklahoma to refineries of the U.S. Gulf Coast.  The PLA would cover the entire pipeline and construction unions say its erection would employ thousands of well-paid union workers.


But other unions, led by National Nurses United, oppose Keystone. They say it would pump dirty oil from Alberta’s tar sands to the Gulf Cast, increasing the carbon emissions that cause global warming and that, NNU says, would sicken people, too.


Obama has repeatedly delayed a Keystone decision.  Congressional Republicans, who will now control both the House and the Senate, have repeatedly pushed pro-Keystone bills through the GOP-run House.