Brent Booker, the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, has a message for the “narrow and misguided” environmental groups blocking the Keystone XL pipeline: Stop “dismissing the lives, families, careers — and even the basic existence — of millions of hard-working Americans who work to construct, repair and advance this great nation.”
Thursday, Booker is one of just four witnesses who will testify before the House Small Business Committee on the Keystone pipeline. According to prepared testimony obtained by The Washington Examiner, Booker will testify that “self-imposed moral arbiters like 350.org or the Sierra Club” are prolonging a “depression” in the construction labor market, which is still suffering through 13 percent unemployment. Booker will say:
With the exception of the first Friday of every month when the Department of Labor releases its monthly jobs report, the economy and the long-term jobs disaster that’s been enveloping the country for five years now goes virtually unmentioned by the national news media. The plight of many millions of Americans who are actually out of work, and especially those who work in the construction industry, is apparently not very newsworthy.
For many members of our unions, the Keystone XL project is not just a pipeline; it is, in the most literal sense of the phrase, a life-line. Far too many of them have lost their homes and are struggling just to put food on the table.
According to Obama’s own State Department, construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would:
- Contribute roughly $3.4 billion to our nation’s GDP;
- Directly employ thousands and thousands of construction workers;
- And support the creation of tens of thousands of additional jobs.
Booker is tired of waiting for President Obama to approve the pipeline, thus allowing the private sector to create these jobs. “The choice is clear and, again, any further delay by the Obama Administration is unacceptable,” Booker says.