Two Major Unions Oppose Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline

News — 350.org Team August 19, 2011 at 11:54 am

For Immediate Release: August 19, 2011

Contact: David Roscow, ATU: 202-537-1645 x254  or droscow@atu.org; Roger Toussaint, TWU:  rtoussaint@twu.org

TWU & ATU Oppose Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline and Call for End of Increased Use of Tar Sands Oil

Washington, DC – 
James C. Little, President of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), and Larry J. Hanley, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) issued the following joint statement in opposition to the approval of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

“We are leaders of transport workers unions representing over 300,000 working women and men in the United States.

“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.

“We share the Environmental Protection Agency’s concerns conveyed to the State Department on two occasions (most recently on June 11,
2011). These concerns cover the potential impacts to groundwater resources from pipeline spills, the high levels of GHG emissions associated with the proposed project, and the inevitable damage to the health of communities affected by the increase in refinery emissions. Approval of this project at this time would therefore be reckless given the EPA’s own assessment of the environmental risks.

“We are also concerned that Keystone XL could double the amount of highly toxic Tar Sands oil being imported into the United States. The Tar Sands has destroyed vast areas of boreal forest and inflicted havoc on local communities. The expansion of the Tar Sands will inflict immeasurable harm on both people and the environment and impede our country’s and the world’s efforts to transition to a green and more sustainable economy.

“We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil. There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair, transportation infrastructure that needs to be renewed and developed. Many jobs could also be created in energy conservation, upgrading the grid, maintaining and expanding public transportation—jobs that can help us reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency.

“We therefore call for major “New Deal” type 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.”

About the ATU

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labor organization
representing transit workers in the United States and Canada. Founded
in 1892, the ATU today is comprised of over 190,000 members in 264
local unions spread across 44 states and nine provinces, including
3,000 workers at Greyhound Lines, Inc. Composed of bus drivers, light
rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit
and municipal employees, the ATU works to promote transit issues and
fights for the interests of its hard-working members.

About TWU

The Transport Workers Union represents 200,000 members and retirees in
22 states.  TWU’s members work on railroads, airlines, gaming, public
mass transit, utilities and university workers.

  1. Watermotor says:

    I do not believed that the public of either Canada or the U.S. is well and fully informed on this issue.

  2. Watermotor says:

    I do not believed that the public of either Canada or the U.S. is well and fully informed on this issue.

  3. Bill Masterofmusic says:

    The Tar sands oil pipeline will be Poison, plain and simple if it passes approval.

  4. Bill Masterofmusic says:

    The Tar sands oil pipeline will be Poison, plain and simple if it passes approval.

    • Matt Frank says:

      I agree there should not be a pipe line installed, the refining should all be done in Canada so that the product can be sold to the Americas at a premium instead of the pennies on the dollar that they are getting it for.

  5. LIZ says:

    Not only do I agree with this article , and the two comments about the public’s knowledge or lack thereof I feel
    Each of us should inform others in our communities of the issues,going so far as to bring it to local news media’s attention, even if we have to plead for airtime. Speaking for myself I haven’t heard a peep,but I see a trend of increased coverage of angry Americans screaming for jobs, unknowingly placing us in a position that Keystone XL supporters want. When speaking to others all I get is a blank stare or a not my problem look quote.
    I give thanks to the ATU and the TWU for speaking out.

  6. LIZ says:

    Not only do I agree with this article , and the two comments about the public’s knowledge or lack thereof I feel
    Each of us should inform others in our communities of the issues,going so far as to bring it to local news media’s attention, even if we have to plead for airtime. Speaking for myself I haven’t heard a peep,but I see a trend of increased coverage of angry Americans screaming for jobs, unknowingly placing us in a position that Keystone XL supporters want. When speaking to others all I get is a blank stare or a not my problem look quote.
    I give thanks to the ATU and the TWU for speaking out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, James C. Little and Larry J. Hanley and the 300,000 working women and men of the Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union for your vocal opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, James C. Little and Larry J. Hanley and the 300,000 working women and men of the Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union for your vocal opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline.

  9. Elizabeth Graham says:

    Thanks to the working people and the unions for speaking out against this tar sands project.At 83 years old I cannot join the demonstration in Washing ton but my daughter will be there and I urge the president not to sign on for this terrible and destructive Keystone XL pipeline.Elizabeth Graham

  10. Elizabeth Graham says:

    Thanks to the working people and the unions for speaking out against this tar sands project.At 83 years old I cannot join the demonstration in Washing ton but my daughter will be there and I urge the president not to sign on for this terrible and destructive Keystone XL pipeline.Elizabeth Graham

  11. Mully69 says:

    I also agree that the public is not fully informed about this issue..but i do know that this is not a new issue..BP(British Petroleum) has been constructing at their N.W. Indiana refiniery the equipment to process the Tar Sand oil for over the past 2 yrs.. The EPA/IDEM gave BP the permits to construct the new facility which has created construction jobs in the area which will also create another 10-20,000 construction jobs..i also agree that jobs should and could be created by rebuilding our infastructure

  12. Mully69 says:

    I also agree that the public is not fully informed about this issue..but i do know that this is not a new issue..BP(British Petroleum) has been constructing at their N.W. Indiana refiniery the equipment to process the Tar Sand oil for over the past 2 yrs.. The EPA/IDEM gave BP the permits to construct the new facility which has created construction jobs in the area which will also create another 10-20,000 construction jobs..i also agree that jobs should and could be created by rebuilding our infastructure

  13. Rshamel says:

    Kudos! Well reasoned, well written, heroic letter!

  14. Rshamel says:

    Kudos! Well reasoned, well written, heroic letter!

  15. Rshamel says:

    Not only should Obama block the pipeline, but more importantly he should also give a clear, hour-long “State of the Climate” address on prime-time, national TV to inform badly-misinformed Americans of the reality, importance and significance of climate change.

  16. Rshamel says:

    Not only should Obama block the pipeline, but more importantly he should also give a clear, hour-long “State of the Climate” address on prime-time, national TV to inform badly-misinformed Americans of the reality, importance and significance of climate change.

  17. jlr says:

    I hope my Government (Canada) stops shipping oil to the US…. immediately.

  18. jlr says:

    I hope my Government (Canada) stops shipping oil to the US…. immediately.

    • pipelinegypsy798 says:

      I believe this country needs “friendly” oil and I wish people would uderstand that. We should be happy that Canada is willing to bring their oil here. My husband has worked on the existing pipeline so I dont understand why everyone is just now having a fit. The oil is already going through a pipeline in our country!!!

    • Tom Teters says:

      I would hope Canada would build refineries, crack the oil and sell us the gas. That would sure minimize potential pollution.

  19. jlr says:

    Your coal mines are more detrimental to the environment than the Oil Sands. Again, I would favour cutting all oil supplies to the US. Unfortunately, what does not get any press whatsoever is the work Oil Sands are doing along with the Canadian Government to cut emissions and improve the environment.

    Main article: Coal power in the United States
    By the late 1930s, it was estimated that American coal mines produced about 2.3 million tons of sulfuric acid annually. In the Ohio River Basin, where twelve hundred operating coal mines drained an estimated annual 1.4 million tonnes of sulfuric acid into the waters in the 1960s and thousands of abandoned coal mines leached acid as well. In Pennsylvania alone, mine drainage had blighted 2,000 stream miles by 1967.
    In response to negative land effects of coal mining and the abundance of abandoned mines in the USA, the federal government enacted the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, which requires reclamation plans for future coal mining sites. Reclamation plans must be approved and permitted by federal or state authorities before mining begins.[5] As of 2003, over 2 million acres (8,000 km2) of previously mined lands have been reclaimed in the United States.
    Emissions from coal-fired power plants represents one of the two largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions, which are the main cause of global warming. Coal mining and abandoned mines also emit methane, another cause of global warming. Since the carbon content of coal is higher than oil, burning coal is a serious threat to the stability of the global climate, as this carbon forms CO2 when burned. Many other pollutants are present in coal power station emissions, as solid coal is more difficult to clean than oil, which is refined before use. A study by the Clean Air Task Force claims that coal power plant emissions are responsible over 13 000 premature deaths annually in the United States alone.[23] Modern power plants utilize a variety of techniques to limit the harmfulness of their waste products and improve the efficiency of burning, though these techniques are not subject to standard testing or regulation in the U.S. and are not widely implemented in some countries, as they add to the capital cost of the power plant.[citation needed] To eliminate CO2 emissions from coal plants, carbon capture and storage has been proposed but has yet to be commercially used.
    The effects of sediment on aquatic wildlife vary with the species and amount of contamination. High sediment loads can kill fish directly, bury spawning beds, reduce light transmission, alter temperature gradients, fill in pools, spread stream flows over wider, shallower areas, and reduce production of aquatic organisms used as food by other species. These changes destroy the habitat of some valued species and may enhance habitat for less desirable species. Existing conditions are already marginal for some freshwater fish in the United States. Sedimentation of these waters can result in their elimination. The heaviest sediment pollution of a drainage normally comes within five to 25 years after mining. In some areas, unrevegetated spoil piles continue to erode even 50 to 65 years after mining.[5]
    The presence of acid forming materials exposed as a result of surface mining can affect wildlife by eliminating habitat and by causing direct destruction of some species. Lesser concentrations can suppress productivity, growth rate, and reproduction of many aquatic species. Acids, dilute concentrations of heavy metals, and high alkalinity can cause severe wildlife damage in some areas. The duration of acidic waste pollution can be long term. Estimates of the time required to leach exposed acidic materials in the Eastern United States range from 800 to 3000 years.[5]
    Surface mining operations have produced cliff-like highwalls as high as 200 feet (61 m) in the United States. Such highwalls may be created at the end of a surface mining operation where stripping becomes uneconomic, or where a mine reaches the boundary of a current lease or mineral ownership. These highwalls are hazards to people, wildlife, and domestic livestock. They may impede normal wildlife migration routes. Steep slopes also merit special attention because of the significance of impacts associated with them when mined. While impacts from contour mining on steep slopes are of the same type as all mining, the severity of these impacts increase as the degree of slope increases. This is due to increased difficulties in dealing with problems of erosion and land stability on steeper slopes.
    Mining operations in the United States must, under federal and state law, meet standards for protecting surface and ground waters from contamination, including AMD. To mitigate these problems, water is continuously monitored at coal mines. The five principal technologies used to control water flow at mine sites are:
    diversion systems,
    containment ponds,
    groundwater pumping systems,
    subsurface drainage systems,
    subsurface barriers.
    In the case of AMD, contaminated water is generally pumped to a treatment facility that neutralizes the contaminants.
    The Environmental Protection Agency classified the 44 sites as potential hazards to communities, which means the waste sites could cause death and significant property damage if an event such as a storm, a terrorist attack or a structural failure caused a spill. They estimate that about 300 dry landfills and wet storage ponds are used around the country to store ash from coal-fired power plants. The storage facilities hold the noncombustible ingredients of coal and the ash trapped by equipment designed to reduce air pollution.[24]

  20. jlr says:

    Your coal mines are more detrimental to the environment than the Oil Sands. Again, I would favour cutting all oil supplies to the US. Unfortunately, what does not get any press whatsoever is the work Oil Sands are doing along with the Canadian Government to cut emissions and improve the environment.

    Main article: Coal power in the United States
    By the late 1930s, it was estimated that American coal mines produced about 2.3 million tons of sulfuric acid annually. In the Ohio River Basin, where twelve hundred operating coal mines drained an estimated annual 1.4 million tonnes of sulfuric acid into the waters in the 1960s and thousands of abandoned coal mines leached acid as well. In Pennsylvania alone, mine drainage had blighted 2,000 stream miles by 1967.
    In response to negative land effects of coal mining and the abundance of abandoned mines in the USA, the federal government enacted the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, which requires reclamation plans for future coal mining sites. Reclamation plans must be approved and permitted by federal or state authorities before mining begins.[5] As of 2003, over 2 million acres (8,000 km2) of previously mined lands have been reclaimed in the United States.
    Emissions from coal-fired power plants represents one of the two largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions, which are the main cause of global warming. Coal mining and abandoned mines also emit methane, another cause of global warming. Since the carbon content of coal is higher than oil, burning coal is a serious threat to the stability of the global climate, as this carbon forms CO2 when burned. Many other pollutants are present in coal power station emissions, as solid coal is more difficult to clean than oil, which is refined before use. A study by the Clean Air Task Force claims that coal power plant emissions are responsible over 13 000 premature deaths annually in the United States alone.[23] Modern power plants utilize a variety of techniques to limit the harmfulness of their waste products and improve the efficiency of burning, though these techniques are not subject to standard testing or regulation in the U.S. and are not widely implemented in some countries, as they add to the capital cost of the power plant.[citation needed] To eliminate CO2 emissions from coal plants, carbon capture and storage has been proposed but has yet to be commercially used.
    The effects of sediment on aquatic wildlife vary with the species and amount of contamination. High sediment loads can kill fish directly, bury spawning beds, reduce light transmission, alter temperature gradients, fill in pools, spread stream flows over wider, shallower areas, and reduce production of aquatic organisms used as food by other species. These changes destroy the habitat of some valued species and may enhance habitat for less desirable species. Existing conditions are already marginal for some freshwater fish in the United States. Sedimentation of these waters can result in their elimination. The heaviest sediment pollution of a drainage normally comes within five to 25 years after mining. In some areas, unrevegetated spoil piles continue to erode even 50 to 65 years after mining.[5]
    The presence of acid forming materials exposed as a result of surface mining can affect wildlife by eliminating habitat and by causing direct destruction of some species. Lesser concentrations can suppress productivity, growth rate, and reproduction of many aquatic species. Acids, dilute concentrations of heavy metals, and high alkalinity can cause severe wildlife damage in some areas. The duration of acidic waste pollution can be long term. Estimates of the time required to leach exposed acidic materials in the Eastern United States range from 800 to 3000 years.[5]
    Surface mining operations have produced cliff-like highwalls as high as 200 feet (61 m) in the United States. Such highwalls may be created at the end of a surface mining operation where stripping becomes uneconomic, or where a mine reaches the boundary of a current lease or mineral ownership. These highwalls are hazards to people, wildlife, and domestic livestock. They may impede normal wildlife migration routes. Steep slopes also merit special attention because of the significance of impacts associated with them when mined. While impacts from contour mining on steep slopes are of the same type as all mining, the severity of these impacts increase as the degree of slope increases. This is due to increased difficulties in dealing with problems of erosion and land stability on steeper slopes.
    Mining operations in the United States must, under federal and state law, meet standards for protecting surface and ground waters from contamination, including AMD. To mitigate these problems, water is continuously monitored at coal mines. The five principal technologies used to control water flow at mine sites are:
    diversion systems,
    containment ponds,
    groundwater pumping systems,
    subsurface drainage systems,
    subsurface barriers.
    In the case of AMD, contaminated water is generally pumped to a treatment facility that neutralizes the contaminants.
    The Environmental Protection Agency classified the 44 sites as potential hazards to communities, which means the waste sites could cause death and significant property damage if an event such as a storm, a terrorist attack or a structural failure caused a spill. They estimate that about 300 dry landfills and wet storage ponds are used around the country to store ash from coal-fired power plants. The storage facilities hold the noncombustible ingredients of coal and the ash trapped by equipment designed to reduce air pollution.[24]

  21. Max says:

    I hope the Canadian Auto Workers Union opposes building the pipeline.
    Blair
    199

  22. Max says:

    I hope the Canadian Auto Workers Union opposes building the pipeline.
    Blair
    199

  23. Not only do you have increased danger to communities & groundwater & polution by way of toxic emmissions from refineries, this will impede on our need to find re-newable energy programs and allow the “Oil Barons” to continue raping our country & the huge profits of “Big Oil” to continue at the expense of our citizens with ever increasing prices at the pump. We actually have Federal Subsidies going out to these record breaking profit margins of “Big Oil”! C’mon people, is common sense a thing of the past? The alternatives for job creation while undertaking long overdue infrastucture projects need only be funded by Congress. The gridlock is undermining every realistic attempt that the current administration has put forward, all in the name of regaining the White House for further promotion of a “Corporate State”. Heaven help us for we see not what “they” do!

  24. Damian Lewis says:

    What about the 20,000 good jobs this pipeline will provide?

  25. Tom Teters says:

    Refine the tarsands AT the mine, then disperse the gas from there, minimizing the potential for large scale oil spills. and will keep the product AND the taxes here in
    Canada and the US, not exported to China and Central America from a Tax-Free industrial zone.

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