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Building Trades Praise Obama Climate Plan, Say Keystone XL Concerns Already Assuaged

Sean McGarvey

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The following statement was issued Tuesday by Sean McGarvey, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, in response to President Obama’s unveiling of his Climate Action Plan:

“We commend President Obama for initiating efforts to address the issue of carbon pollution and climate change, while recognizing that it is problematic to move too quickly in one singular direction when it comes to energy. The United States can strengthen its economy, create well-paying jobs, improve its national security and confront the challenges associated with climate change through the intelligent embrace of the historic gains that are unfolding all across the energy landscape today.

We stand ready to work with the Administration to achieve a national energy policy that ensures a sustainable, and accessible, supply of affordable energy; but which is also balanced against a need for an economic development strategy that moves our nation towards more efficient, innovative and “cleaner” energy technologies.

To us, these objectives can only be met through the development, installation and continued operation of energy technologies from a broad portfolio of energy resources. This will have the added benefit of fostering the sustained creation of solid, well-paying middle class jobs and careers; and will certainly encourage the efficient use of all energy resources in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen our dependence upon foreign sources of energy.

And to the President’s point that the Keystone XL pipeline should be built if it does not significantly exacerbate carbon pollution, we would point to the Department of State’s own Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), which concluded that the development of the Canadian oil sands would not impact greenhouse gas production.

America’s Building Trades Unions remain committed to continuing to working with President Obama, the U.S. Congress, and all interested stakeholders, to continue the process of constructing a workable and sustainable approach to our nation’s energy policy that places sufficient emphasis and protections upon jobs and wages, domestic energy supplies, the implementation of new “clean” technologies, renewable fuels, and a stringent stewardship of our nation’s environmental assets.”


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