We need LNG jobs
In her March 19 letter to the editor, “Short-term LNG jobs are not sustaining,” State Rep. Deborah Ruggiero questions, “How many of these jobs would be local jobs?” Her question is our focus and concern, and it deserves a legitimate and well-researched answer.
For some time now, I and many of the union leaders of the R.I. Building and Construction Trades Council that BuildRI represents have met with representatives of Weaver’s Cove Energy on several occasions to discuss just what Rep. Ruggiero questioned. Based on Weaver’s Cove’s commitment, both privately and publicly, and – more assuredly – market conditions, we are confident that this project will create a substantial number of new construction jobs, which may be as high as 1,000. All, if not most, of these jobs will be local, and they will be union.
It is disheartening to see these desperately needed jobs being derided as “short term” and therefore not worth pursuing. Construction jobs are well-paying jobs that provide healthcare and retirement benefits, and by their very nature are temporary. However, many – if not most – of our workers (and contractors) are able to regularly string along jobs on a project-byproject basis so that they are able to develop a career; that is the nature of our industry. If the Weaver’s Cove LNG project is not approved at the federal level or it is stopped at the state level, I can tell you with good authority that, outside of the proposed Deepwater wind project, I do not know of any other privately funded project in and around this area that would even approach this type of economic opportunity for our local economy.
We need well-paying construction jobs, as well as lower energy costs; therefore, we support the Weaver’s Cove LNG project. In closing, I ask if this project does not materialize, what is Plan B for creating up to 1,000 new construction jobs in the private sector? I do not see any new substantial private investment into our local economy on the horizon.