AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said this morning that should President Obama win a second term it was possible the White House would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. Trumka cautioned that environmental concerns regarding the pipeline would have to be addressed but said that could be done without undermining the project.
“A lot of people try to say it is either/or. Either you do the project or you destroy the environment. I think there is a way to do things both ways. Where you can do things without destroying the environment,” Trumka said a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think that project and others have every chance of success doing it the right way.”
The 1,700 mile project, which would bring oil from Canada through the US, has been a difficult issue for the Obama administration. It appeared poised to ok the project last year but first delayed, then rejected it after environmental groups came out in force against it. The administration has not ruled out accepting a modified proposal though and the company behind it, TransCanada has continued to push for it. The State Department has said it will render a final decision next year.
The project has been a tricky issue for the AFL-CIO too. Some of its members, most noticeably the Laborers International Union of North America, strongly backed the project, which they viewed as a major source of jobs for their members. But the AFL-CIO itself, which has been trying to build ties with environmentalist groups, did not take a position.