Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) took to the opinion pages this past weekend to emphasize the importance of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The narrative—published in the Illinois State Journal-Register—notes that the pipeline has been approved by all four states, but is still awaiting final signoff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
This critical energy infrastructure project has already been approved on its merits by four state regulatory boards. Each of the state agencies has indicated that the benefits of the project not only outweigh the costs, but will improve the quality of energy access to the residents of those states. These regulatory bodies reviewed hundreds of pages of testimony and comments from affected communities, including environmental and cultural experts.
The permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of the last outstanding approvals. Yet rather than accept the outcome, some opponents have requested the intercession of the federal government into the review process by pressuring the Corps. They have requested this intervention despite the state reviews and the fact the Corps district office has already determined the project would not cause significant environmental harm.
— Midwest Alliance (@MWAllianceNow) June 13, 2016
Furthermore, O’Sullivan goes on to stress the exemplary qualifications of the LiUNA members working on the project, say that they are, “among the most skilled and highly trained construction crafts workers in the world.” O’Sullivan said that projects like Dakota Access represent more than just an investment in our infrastructure, but also a way of life for thousands of workers who rely on them as a source of income.
Projects like the Dakota Access are more than just pipelines — they are lifelines that will help workers practice their craft through the thousands of good, family-supporting jobs the project will create. The project is forecast to have a $5 billion positive economic impact, including nearly $200 million in payments to landowners and $1.9 billion in wages, including $303 million in wages in Illinois.
O’Sullivan concludes by reiterating his call for the Army Crops review process to remain independent and outside the sphere of influence of those second guessing the project. “It is destructive to pressure the Corps to cater to the whims of environmental elites,” he wrote. “That is not what Illinois or our country needs.”
Click here to read Terry O’Sullivan’s full opinion piece in the Illinois State Journal-Register.