President Donald Trump is receiving some union support for announcing Friday plans to grant a permit that will allow construction of the Keystone Pipeline.
The Keystone XL Pipeline was abandoned by the last administration amid growing political pressure from the left. Labor unions split with progressive allies on the issue. Union workers in the construction and energy sectors stand to see gains from the pipeline.
The president called the pipeline one of many infrastructure projects under his administration, and he noted the safety of pipelines versus other means of transporting oil. The pipeline is expected to create thousands of jobs and cost $8 billion.
The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is hopeful construction will begin soon. “LIUNA welcomes the news that the Keystone Pipeline has at last won a presidential permit – after years of politically motivated delays,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said in a statement provided to InsideSources. “I am hopeful that the remaining review by the Nebraska Public Service Commission will be completed swiftly so that the thousands of hard-working men and women of the building trades who have testified, rallied and supported this project.”
Former President Barack Obama had a strong relationship with unions throughout his administration. Environmental policy and trade were some of the few areas where he received backlash from organized labor. The State Department found the project could create 3,900 construction jobs if completed within one year.
The Teamsters has also been a vocal supporter of the pipeline. “This project will put thousands of Americans, including Teamsters, to work in good union jobs that will support working families,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said in a statement.
The split among unions primarily stems from whether their membership will be negatively impacted. The Teamsters represent more than 1.4 million workers from a range of blue collar industries. LIUNA has over a half-million members, primarily in the energy and construction industries.
The Dakota Access Pipeline has also attracted some union support despite general opposition on the left. The Teamsters denounced the last administration for halting pipeline construction last year. LIUNA added that the administration was appeasing environmental extremists.
Environmentalists have noted concern pipelines pose a threat to the surrounding environment. A leak or spill could cause damage to nearby communities, as well. The Fraser Institute, a conservative research group, found that pipelines are actually a safer method for transporting oil.
Not every union deviates from the bunch when it comes to environmental and energy policies. The National Nurses United praised the last administration when it rejected the Keystone pipeline. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) later applauded the decision to stop construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Trump has built his presidency on the promise that he would help domestic workers. The president argued during his announcement that the government has failed workers and companies alike. He added the pipeline will begin making things right again.