Building Trades Union Leader Extols Environmental Stewardship of Canadian Oil Sands Development

April 28, 2014 10:50 am | Categories:

WASHINGTON, DC—Upon returning from a tour of the Canadian oil sands region, Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, today chastised the radical environmental movement for perpetrating a deliberate misinformation campaign upon the American public with regard to oil sands development and the Keystone pipeline.

McGarvey visited the region April 22-24 with:

Terry O’Sullivan, General President; LiUNA

Ed Hill -International President; IBEW

Bill Hite – General President; United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters

Joe Nigro – General President; SMART (International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers)

Eric Dean – General Secretary; International Association of Ironworkers

Mike Pleasant – Administrative Assistant to the General President; United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters

Terry Healy- Vice President and Special Assistant to the President; LiUNA.

“I’ve just spent several days with other building trades union leaders visiting the oil sands region and meeting with officials from the Canadian government as well as industry representatives and contractors,” said McGarvey. “And what we heard, and more importantly what we saw with our own eyes, is nowhere near what the American public is being told by the radical environmental movement.

“What McGarvey and other labor leaders discovered includes the following:

  • The development of the oil sands accounts for only 7.8% of Canada’s annual overall GHG emissions; and only 1/640th of global GHG emissions.
  • The government of Alberta implemented stringent GHG regulations in 2007, becoming the first jurisdiction in North America to do so. Since 2007, these regulations have resulted in GHG reductions of 23 million tons, the equivalent of taking 4.8 million cars off the road for one year.
  • Since 1990 GHG emissions from oil sands development have been reduced by 26%.
  • The Royal Society in Canada has studied water quality impacts and its conclusions suggest that oil sands development are not a current threat to aquatic ecosystem viability.
  • Alberta law requires all lands disturbed by oil sands operations be reclaimed. All companies are required to develop a reclamation plan that spans the life of the project.

“We’ve seen firsthand,” said McGarvey, “the fruits of the tremendous work being done through a collaboration of government, industry, labor and the stewards of Canada’s natural resources to balance the incredible economic potential from responsible oil sands development with protection of the environment. I was up here 6 years ago and I’ve seen the results of the on-going reclamation efforts. It is tremendous. Whole swaths of land that were once part of a mining operation are now populated with burgeoning forests, along with herds of bison, fish, waterfowl and other wildlife that are flourishing in great numbers.”

“What we desire for America is what Canada and Alberta have achieved for their citizens,” McGarvey explained. “Economic security, energy security and a thriving and growing middle class based upon responsible development of domestic energy resources. It’s long past time for American politicians to start putting America first.”

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