Obama administration chooses environmentalists over unions on Keystone XL and fracking
While some environmental groups applauded the latest delay of the Keystone XL pipeline, unions whose members would be building it ripped the administration. Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO, called it “a cold, hard slap in the face for hard working Americans who are literally waiting for President Obama’s approval and the tens of thousands of jobs it will generate.”
Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) general president Terry O’Sullivan was more colorful, saying, “It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”
The Keystone XL pipeline isn’t the only energy issue dividing anti-energy environmental groups and unions who want jobs for their members. Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that development of shale energy using hydraulic fracturing had strong union support in Pennsylvania:
“The shale became a lifesaver and a lifeline for a lot of working families,” said Dennis Martire, the mid-Atlantic regional manager for the Laborers’ International Union, or LIUNA, which represents workers in numerous construction trades.
Martire said that as huge quantities of natural gas were extracted from the vast shale reserves over the last five years, union work on large pipeline jobs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia has increased significantly. In 2008, LIUNA members worked about 400,000 hours on such jobs; by 2012, that had risen to 5.7 million hours.
In contrast, environmental groups like the Natural Resource Defense Council who patted the administration on the back for the Keystone XL delay, strongly oppose hydraulic fracturing.
In his Keystone XL statement, McGarvey head of the building trades union asked a good question:
Why does President Obama continue to side with radicals instead of the middle class that, twice, put him office, and supports this project by a significant majority?
Out of work American union members would like to know.
[H/T Lachlan Markay at the Washington Free Beacon.]
EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of a rig drilling for natural gas at a hydraulic fracturing site in Pennsylvania is courtesy of photographer Ty Wright/Bloomberg.