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Does Biden Care That Alaska’s Willow Project Will Help Unions?

alaska oil pipeline

In 2020, then-candidate Biden promised to be the most pro-union president voters had ever seen. President Biden has the chance to continue making this promise true by supporting one of our nation’s most important energy developments: Alaska’s Willow Project.

Willow’s importance to Alaska and to our nation can’t be overstated: it’s a win for jobs and for energy security. That’s why Willow has enthusiastic bipartisan support from Alaska’s congressional delegation.

According to Bureau of Land Management estimates, the project is set to produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak, and generate up to $17 billion in revenue for the federal government, the state of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, and communities in the surrounding areas.

Willow’s construction will be important to our workforce. As a long-time leader of the Alaska District Council of Laborers, an organization with 5,500 members across the state, I’ve represented workers throughout my career—men and women working from the Valdez Marine Terminal to the North Slope.

Our union members have helped build our country. For jobs, for energy security, for affordable energy—America needs Willow.

Let’s talk numbers. Willow will provide over 2,000 construction jobs, including around 300 long-term jobs.

These numbers are substantial, especially in a small state like Alaska where a remote and sometimes harsh environment means a well-paying job is necessary to afford the basics.

For Willow, the Bureau of Land Management estimates that 75 percent (or 9 million man-hours) of Willow’s total installation work hours will come from union labor.

At a time when Russia and OPEC are disrupting energy supply and prices, the United States can continue to strengthen its energy security through domestic production.

There’s no better time for the United States to continue its record as a powerhouse energy producer while maintaining some of the strongest environmental standards and regulations in the world.

Unfortunately, Willow faces criticism from Lower 48 alarmists. To be clear, the vast majority of the project’s naysayers don’t live and work in Alaska, let alone the North Slope—where Willow will be constructed.

I have seen firsthand how responsible natural resource development can coexist with the North Slope’s unique environment while enhancing the broader community as we reinvest in local community projects and public services.

In Alaska, we’re fortunate to have a workforce empowered to protect the surrounding environment, allowing wildlife to continue to thrive. Our union members receive specialized training and work together with our partners to meet and exceed the world’s highest environmental standards.

I’ve seen caribou going under and over pipelines. I know how much care goes into ensuring wildlife has the right of way through these projects. Assumptions about Alaska’s wildlife from those who don’t live here do not align with my lived experience as a worker and as an Alaskan.

Not only will the Willow project create direct job opportunities for Alaska workers, but the state of Alaska and local communities will also collect an estimated $2.5 billion in tax revenue over the life of the project to fund necessary public services schools, and higher education, including the vocational and technical training that will be critical for Alaska’s future workforce. …snip…

Alaska’s labor force works on a wide range of projects from environmental work to the construction of roads and drill pads to pipeline maintenance and construction.

We’re the ones on the ground every day, and we know what is best for our communities. Willow will help address inflation, high energy costs, and energy security.

Now is the time to act and move forward with Willow to support America’s union workers and build our nation’s energy-independent future.

Read full post at RealClearEnergy

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