A teamster weighs in on the pipeline

The transcripts from the scoping meetings is starting to come out, and I’ll highlight a few to give an idea of what people were saying.

First up, we have Carmine Caruso, a teamster for local 469, which is based in Hazlet, NJ. As it happens, I grew up a stones throw from Hazlet in Matawan, NJ. It’s quite a ways from Hunterdon County 🙂

Anyway, here’s Carmine’s testimony to FERC:

CARMINE CARUSO: My name is Carmine Caruso,
15 C-A-R-M-I-N-E C-A-R-U-S-O. I am a Teamster, Local 469.
16 I’m representing the pipeline. It creates jobs. It’s very
17 safe and secure. I work for a lot of different contractors
18 on the pipeline, and safety is one of the main objects of
19 that goal, to put pipe in the ground and put it in safe and
20 keep the environment safe.
21 Also when the job is finished, it creates jobs
22 for the different Locals that are in the area. And also
23 some people get excited about you’re not going to do this
24 right, you’re not going to do that right, they use the wrong
25 kind of pipe. Everything is engineered out and spec’d out
1 to 100 percent on everything what they do. And I can’t
2 elaborate no more than that on it.
3 And hopefully everything goes through and safely
4 and there’s no issues and hopefully they put a lot of guys
5 to work. And do you have a question or anything? Nothing
6 to elaborate on. I don’t know why people get up
7 about the pipe going in the ground. You want to
8 gas on, you go to the gas stove to turn your gas
9 want to have heat, why would you want oil? Oils in arms turn your on, you
10 contaminate. It goes in the ground. Everything’s getting
11 rid–they’re trying to get rid of oil, you know, especially
12 oil burners. Natural gas is the way to go as far as I’m
13 concerned.
14 Everybody says thin wall pipe. It’s not true.
15 It’s not true. Totally wrong. But everybody has their own
16 opinions, so… I worked pipeline for, I’m a 36-year career
17 man. I have 36 years. I’ve worked probably about 22 years
18 of pipeline. Never had an issue. Every Saturday there’s a
19 hour-and-a-half safety course we have to take. And every
20 morning there’s a tool shop, toolbox talk, I should say, any
21 issues, anything like that.
22 That’s about all I have, you know. Hopefully
23 everything goes smooth and everything goes through, and
24 that’s all I have. Okay? Thank you very much.

I don’t begrudge Carmine his opinions, but it is pretty clear that he trusts the judgements of those above him to keep himself, and everyone else safe.  If that were true I think we’d all have a lot less issues with projects like PennEast.

But we know it’s not.  We know all pipe is not created equal, and FERC and PennEast is fine with us getting the cheapest and thinnest pipes possible because we are a rural community.

We know that most construction jobs will be outsourced to other states, and that close to zero people from Hazlet, NJ (or anywhere else in the state) will be employed on it.

We know safety monitors have been fired from pipelines because they complained about conditions.

We know that we have more than enough natural gas pipelines to already service this state, and we don’t need any more – so why are you talking about oil?

We know everything is not “100% speced out” – in fact, in PennEast’s latest filings they are asking their contractors to change the plans on the fly to suit their own mood and judgement, and that such changes could severely impact C1 streams.

But don’t blame Carmine, and don’t blame the Teamsters for this.  They are just looking for jobs and to feed their families.  What we need to do is educate them on how their employers aren’t doing any of these things, how they are lying to them about jobs, and how to transition from dubious fossil fuel companies into jobs that will pay in the long term.

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Mike Spille

I'm a thinker, an analyzer, a synthesizer. Maybe not in that order. I live in West Amwell NJ with my wife Kristina, our two kids Day and Z, our two dogs Fern and Cinna, and three cats Ponce de Leon, Oliver, and Doolittle.

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