[The following petition, initiated by Tar Sands Action, calls on the labor movement to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline.]
Dear sisters and brothers:
Recently we signed this on-line petition “Labor Movement Against the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline” and we would like to encourage others in labor to do the same (in personal capacity).
You can sign here: Tar Sand Labor Petition
This is not just about a pipeline. If approved and constructed, Keystone XL will have a huge impact on First Nation communities, on global greenhouse gas emissions, and risks major contamination of the largest freshwater aquifer in North America. Labor can add its voice to the rising opposition to this horrendous project.
By building a pipeline from Alberta to Texas, Keystone XL will open up the Tar Sands in Canada to massive expansion, and will release huge quantities of this dirty oil into the global energy system. Who will benefit? Certainly not us.
That’s why over 1,000 people were arrested in protests against the pipeline in Washington during August — the largest wave of civil disobedience since the Vietnam War. Union people were among those arrested, as were farmers, ranchers, First Nation leaders, climate justice activists, and top scientists.
Approval of the TransCanada corporation’s pipeline will strengthen the political and economic power of corporations like Koch Industries that want to destroy the labor movement. The American Petroleum Institute is promising hundreds of thousands of jobs in order to win support for the project. However, these claims are wildly exaggerated and the project could end up killing more jobs than it creates. See this Cornell Global Labor Institute study for the real numbers:
The president must decide yes or no on Keystone XL. We can work with our allies in the social movements to send a clear signal - union members want jobs, but not jobs from dirty Tar Sands oil!
Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Bill Fletcher, Center for Labor Renewal
Roger Toussaint. Transport Workers Union
Bruce Hamilton, Pres., Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1700
Jennifer Badgley, Political Director, IBEW Local 569
Joe Uehlein, Labor Network for Sustainability
Labor Movement Against the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
We are active members, shop stewards, staff and elected local, regional and national officers of unions and workers’ organizations based in the United States.
We urge the State Department and the President not to grant approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In so doing, we stand in solidarity with the Tar Sands workers in Alberta represented by the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union; the Alberta Federation of Labour, and the Canadian Labour Congress. We commend those unions and individual trade unionists in the U.S. for actively and publicly opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline.
We also stand in solidarity with First Nations and other communities whose families and livelihoods have been harmed by the Tar Sands. By opposing Keystone XL (and the proposed Enbridge pipeline across British Columbia) we join with those farmers, ranchers, and community members who live along the route and are concerned about the damage that spills from the pipeline will have on their water and land. And we add our voices to those in the environmental movements in the US and Canada who unequivocally oppose Keystone XL because it will have serious environmental, climate change, pollution and health impacts.
We need jobs - but not jobs based on dirty energy and Tar Sands oil. Keystone XL will benefit the big oil corporations like Koch Industries and Valero that are determined to destroy the labor movement.
We join with those in labor who call for a Green New Deal to create jobs by way of major investments in public mass transit, electrical grid modernization, scaling up renewable sources of power, energy conservation, ambitious fuel efficiency programs, and sustainable alternative fuels.
We believe construction of Keystone XL will kill more jobs than it creates by increasing fuel costs in the Midwest and through the cost of oil spills, increased emissions, and reduced investments in renewable sources of energy.
We urge trade unionists to attend or support the November 6 (one year from the next presidential election) call to action outside the White House to ask President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
(In personal capacity, organizational information for identification purposes only.)
You can sign here: www.tarsandsaction.org/labor-sign-on
Amalgamated Transit Union and Transport Workers Union Statement (August 18, 2011)
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 ver 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.”