By Carol Gay, President, NJ State Industrial Union Council.
Our health, climate, and safety are at stake because of oil trains, and the proliferation of a dozen gas and oil pipelines crisscrossing our state. Many of our brothers and sisters in labor are dependent on these industries for their livelihoods, and cannot be forgotten as we move towards a clean energy future. Our families deserve a clean energy future.
Bakken crude traveling through our communities, whether it is on trains or through pipelines, is a disaster waiting to happen. Bakken oil, produced through fracking, is one of the most explosive types of oil in the world and bringing this oil into our state endangers our families, property, and environment. I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the recent oil train explosions around the country and in Canada where 47 died. Besides the immediate threats to our communities, refining and burning gas and oil have an impact on global climate and inundate local communities with air and water pollution.
The danger posed by oil trains is being discussed at meetings of community, labor, faith, and environmental organizations across the region. These concerns were most recently raised at recent rallies and marches at the Oradell Reservoir (source of drinking water for 750,000 people) and Teaneck in Bergen County, and now by the March for a Clean Energy Revolution!
The NJ Industrial Union Council is involved in these efforts and those to address sustainable energy development because we want to create good jobs, stop dangerous dirty fossil fuel projects, and promote safe, clean energy alternatives to ensure clean air and water and a safer future for all of us.
We need strong job training programs that transition our workforce to one that can build out necessary infrastructure for renewable energy sources that don’t threaten the safety of our communities and the long-term livability of the planet. We can also repurpose existing skills in other areas, for instance, investment in public drinking water systems would put our pipe-fitters to work on repairing and upgrading our deteriorating drinking water systems.
Please join others and me in Philadelphia on July 24 to demand a Clean Energy Revolution.