Statement of Mark H. Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department on the Delay of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project

Nov 15, 2011, 16:27 ET from Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "We are deeply disappointed that the President decided to delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project. We believe that construction of the Keystone pipeline met many of the Administration's stated energy security goals; goals that are, indeed, shared by America's Building Trades Unions and its 2 million members. 

In fact, the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Department of State already found that the Keystone pipeline would be one of the safest, most efficient ways to transport Canadian oil to the United States.  Further, the Keystone pipeline would be built utilizing high strength steel, the highest safety standards of any pipeline in North America, and the skills and expertise of the safest and most highly trained construction professionals in the world.  21,000 sensors would monitor the length of the pipeline by satellite 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with data refreshed every five seconds.  If a problem were to occur, automatic shut-off valves would be activated within minutes – shutting off the flow of oil.

"Most disappointing is the President's decision to wait until the final stages of a multi-year approval process to articulate his concerns.  The President's decision to wait until the 11th hour only gives credibility to the argument that his decision was one of political expediency, rather than a decision based on facts and the national interest.   

"Approval of this project by the Administration would have been a lifeline for thousands of American workers.  This delay may mean that the project will not go forward and thousands of jobs will be lost in the U.S. construction industry which continues to suffer unemployment rates approaching twice the national average.  Our members had embraced the hopeful rhetoric of "we can't wait" for a fractured Congress to act when it comes to the issue of job creation, only to be disappointed by an Administration unwilling to act on this vital project."  

The Building and Construction Trades Department is an alliance of 13 national and international unions that collectively represent over 2million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada

SOURCE Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO