A powerful labor union lashed out at President Obama on Friday after the administration rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline, calling the president “cowardly,” “shameful” and saying he harbors “disdain and disregard” for the middle class.
In its statement, the Laborers’ International Union of North America said the decision to kill Keystone — which Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry announced during brief remarks at the White House — proves the president cares more about his environmental legacy than the economic well-being of the country.
“After a seven-year circus of cowardly delay, the president’s decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline is just one more indication of an utter disdain and disregard for salt-of-the-earth, middle-class working Americans,” union General President Terry O’Sullivan said in a statement. “The politics he has played with their lives and livelihoods is far dirtier than oil carried by any pipeline in the world, and the cynical manipulation of the approval process has made a mockery of regulatory institutions and government itself. We are dismayed and disgusted that the president has once again thrown the members of LIUNA, and other hard-working, blue-collar workers under the bus of his vaunted ‘legacy,’ while doing little or nothing to make a real difference in global climate change. His actions are shameful.”
The unprecedented criticism over Keystone comes as labor unions also are lining up against Mr. Obama’s TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, the full text of which was released earlier this week. The powerful Teamsters union, for example, has blasted the labor standards contained in the agreement and has mounted a “#TPPWorseThanWeThought” campaign on Twitter.
On Keystone, Mr. Obama said the pipeline would not enhance American energy security, nor would it create jobs or lower domestic prices.
But the president made clear the biggest reason he’s rejecting Keystone is that America must lead on climate change, and approving new oil-and-gas infrastructure at home would send a signal to the rest of the world that the country isn’t serious about confronting global warming.
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“Today we’re continuing to lead by example,” the president said.