Laborers Union showing support for pipeline

A labor union says it plans to testify and serve lunch at Friday’s public hearing on the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Laborers International Union of America says it is capable of building safe pipelines and restoring land to its original condition. It’ll make its case and sweeten the deal with food when the North Dakota Public Service Commission convenes its third and final hearing on the pipeline at 9 a.m. in the Ernie French Center, Williston.

Project developers propose to loop the pipeline through the oil patch, pick up Bakken crude, and deliver it by 30-inch underground pipe 1,100 miles to Illinois. The pipeline would have a 450,000 barrel capacity, close to half of all Bakken oil production, and market it to Midwest and Gulf region refiners.

The PSC held day-long hearings on the project in Bismarck and Killdeer and will likely make a decision this fall on whether to issue a route permit.

Pamela Link, the union’s director of governmental affairs and business development, said the intent is to make sure everyone understands the laborers’ position.

“Our members always turn out in big numbers to show their solidarity,” she said. “Our members are ready to work. We respect the process but we are excited to get our boots dirty and build this pipeline right.”

The organization represents about 12,000 workers in Minnesota, North Dakota and part of Wisconsin, Link said.