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


For Immediate Release                                               Contact: David Roscow (ATU) 202-537-1645 x254
August 19, 2011                                                          Roger Toussaint (TWU)

Washington, DCJames 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.[1] 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.