Labor Leaders Blast Sierra Club on Energy

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On two recent occasions, labor leaders have found themselves at odds with the Sierra Club over energy policy, criticizing the group for tactics that obstruct jobs and economic development. Such actions by the Sierra Club are the subject of PACE’s recent campaign, Beyond Affordable.

In Washington state, Brad Owens, President of the Northwest Washington Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, recently blasted the Sierra Club for “trying to hold hostage any industrial project that might use or promote the use of most of today’s practical and affordable energy sources.” Owens specifically cites the group’s opposition to the Gateway Pacific Terminal, a planned state-of-the-art cargo handling facility in Cherry Point, Washington. The project is expected to create 1,250 permanent jobs and generate $140 million in economic activity annually.

“The Sierra Club’s current radical approach should really be called ‘Beyond Jobs’ or ‘Beyond Reason,’ writes Owens. “It’s time to get real and find paths forward that don’t always involve crippling the prospects of working people.”

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, David Newell, President of the Central Mississippi Building and Construction Trades Council, cites the Sierra Club for what he called the group’s “negative impact.” Newell and Bob Shaffer, President of the Mississippi AFL-CIO are scheduled to hold a press conference today in Jackson, MS, to discuss how the Sierra Club’s opposition to the Kemper County is holding back jobs and delaying a power plant that, once complete, will be one of the nation’s cleanest burning fossil fuel plants.

“What we’re seeing is the realization by labor that the Sierra Club’s preferred energy policies hurt jobs and restrain growth,” explains PACE Executive Director Lance Brown. “What they really want is to build nothing and watch power bills skyrocket.”