Tuesday, April 14, 2009

U.S. steelworkers protest use of India-made pipe in Keystone project

GRANITE CITY, Ill. - Hundreds of steelworkers have protested in Illinois against the use of India-made steel in TransCanada’s Keystone oil pipeline project designed to connect Canada’s oil sands with the U.S. Midwest. The protesters demanded adoption of a “Buy American” policy by authorities.
Most such protests in the recent past have targeted steel pipe made in China. The Illinois protest was the first against pipe made in India.
The rally, which took place in Granite City, Ill., was organized by the United Steel Workers (USW) union. It attracted some 1,000 protesters in spite of near-freezing temperatures.
The slogan-shouting protesters demanded that the "Made in India" pipe be replaced with pipe manufactured in the U.S.
Organizers said the pipe made in India, destined for use in the Keystone Pipeline being built by TransCanada from the oil fields of Alberta in Canada to the Conoco-Phillips refinery in Illinois, are being unloaded from rail cars and transferred to tractor trailers at a time when some 2,000 workers at USS Steel are laid off from the adjacent steel mill.
The rally called for an end to the public policy of the past 30 years, which they alleged has led to the willful dismantling of the industrial and manufacturing base of the American economy and the loss of millions of decent, middle-class supporting jobs.
Participants at the rally demanded a new policy that emphasizes the development of new energy technologies and investment in the U.S. economy's infrastructure utilizing American-made manufactured products.
Robert Jones, the Keystone Pipeline project's vice president, said that when TransCanada solicited bids for the pipe in 2007, "it became pretty apparent that North American pipe mills weren't going to be able to fulfill our needs" because many were at capacity. Complicating matters, he said, was that only a certain number of pipe suppliers worldwide could make the high-tensile pipe required for the project.
So TransCanada contracted for about half of the pipe to come from U.S. and Canadian sources, with the rest from overseas, Jones said.

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