Unions, Climate Change and “Keystone”

Posted on June 1, 2014 by

Critics of the EPA’s proposed rules to curb carbon emissions are quick to cite opposition by some key unions.

While pushback by Mine Workers, IBEW, Boilermakers and others will be used by coal industry advocates to fight Obama’s climate change agenda, union influence on the policy won’t amount to much.

The administration will have its hands full with republicans and coal-state democrats but this hugely important environmental battle will not hinge on organized labor.

Let’s hope the president wins this one without giving up too much.

One consequence of the political fight, I suspect, will be to bring out Obama’s tendency to balance the scale.

Don’t be surprised, therefore, during the EPA’s carbon emission brawl, if the administration releases its decision to greenlight the keystone pipeline, assuring environmentalists that its impact on climate change is marginal.

Building Trades unions have already thrown their weight behind this large construction project, giving Obama cover to position it as a high-wage job creator which fosters “energy independence.”

Comments (2)


  1. Glen Merzer says:


    The Keystone pipeline shouldn’t be a bargaining chip when climate scientists say it could tip the balance to “game over” for the world climate. There’s more environmental downside to the Keystone pipeline than upside to stricter EPS carbon emissions, so it would be an illogical concession. Nor are there any real long-term jobs to the pipeline–unless, of course, there’s a spill.

    Glen Merzer

  2. Ron Alcalay says:

    We’re already adding jobs; the economy is improving.
    I hope Obama won’t sacrifice long-term viablity of life on the planet for some short-term gains in employment and energy independence.

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