By Randy Palladino,
Laborers’ Local 91
For thousands of hard-working men and women who have been shut out of our economy for too long, it is beginning to feel like a new day. The Laborers’ International Union of North America applauds President Trump for turning the page, leaving the politicization of decisions over energy projects in the dustbin of the past. Advancing the approval process for the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline embodies the President’s commitment to creating good middle-class jobs and ending the political gamesmanship of the last eight years when it came to energy policy. The Keystone Pipeline was stalled, delayed and ultimately blocked by the Obama Administration to appease extremist environmentalists, reducing working class men and women to pawns in an elitist game. Despite multiple State Department reviews that found the pipeline would be safe, in the national interest, and unlikely to contribute to climate change, thousands of workers, desperate for means to care for the families, were ignored.
Likewise, the Dakota Access Pipeline has been delayed by a distortion of the regulatory process by the Obama Administration, putting at risk the livelihoods of more than 4,500 construction workers, including 1,100 LIUNA members. While the project had been approved by local, state and federal agencies, the new last-minute hurdle blocking it put politics above people. LIUNA is also pleased that the President included Executive Orders that ensure certainty in the permitting process and requiring that future pipelines be constructed from materials and equipment produced in the U.S., which will be a boon for America’s manufacturing industry and workers. The abuse and politicization of the permitting process that we have seen during the last few years has become an impediment to rebuilding our crumbling transportation and energy infrastructure.
President Trump has shown that it is not difficult to put country above politics and create an energy-independent America. He has shown that he respects laborers who build our great nation, and that they will be abandoned no more. LIUNA looks forward to building the President’s vision with a common sense energy policy, creating good jobs and accessible, affordable energy.