December 12, 2014
By Dan Husted
Lansing, Michigan – The construction of new, clean energy infrastructure that will carry natural gas has spurred considerable debate in our region. This $4.3 billion investment will not only bring in out-of-state money to our communities, but it will employ hundreds of laborers from across Michigan.
Myself, and many members of LiUNA Local 1075, have attended open houses, meetings, and town halls hosted by both state legislators and local officials. We've been engaged and have been sharing our own pipeline construction story: if the Rover Pipeline is approved by FERC, the highly-skilled members of LiUNA are ready to safely build this vital piece of infrastructure.
The Members of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LiUNA) are involved in many aspects of the production and transmission of natural gas. We prepare and repair sites; we strengthen and repair roads; we build feeder and mainline pipelines; we build processing and compression plants, and maintain those plants under high standards designed to protect the workers and the people who live in surrounding communities. Last year, LiUNA members in Michigan worked over one million hours on pipeline construction and maintenance.
The Michigan Laborers' Training & Apprenticeship Institute (MLTAI) has built a reputation as one of the safest and most productive facilities in the nation with more ANSI Certified Instructors than any other training center. The MLTAI has certified over 650 members in pipeline construction safety & technology since the U.S. Department of Transportation's Operator Qualification (OQ) Rule went into effect. We pride ourselves on having the most educated, prepared, safe and highly skilled workforce in the industry.
Infrastructure projects – including those that act as conduits for clean energy – mean job opportunities, new revenue for local governments and economic security for workers and families. But projects such as the Rover natural gas pipeline often draw controversy and frequently devolve into heated exchanges of talking points and rhetoric rather than meaningful discussions of real-world impacts. Each project should be evaluated on its own merits.
This project would mean that Laborers that live right here in Genesee have a real opportunity to be back at work.
Now that's worth talking about.
*** Dan Husted is business manager of Laborers Local 1075, which represents over 600 men and women predominantly in the construction industry.