Indian steel for pipeline angers laid-off U.S. steelworkers

Belleville News DemocratMarch 20, 2009 

Lawmakers in Illinois are calling foreign steel being used to construct a pipeline a slap in the face to U.S. workers.

Steel pipes painted with a "Made in India" logo are being shipped through Granite City, Ill., right in front of a steel mill where more than 2,800 steelworkers have been laid off.

"This is a perfect example of how our trade laws are failing our workers. At a time when thousands of local steelworkers are laid off, shipping steel from India for a project in our area is unacceptable and outrageous," said U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill. "It is precisely why I support strong 'Buy America' provisions and have voted against trade agreements. We can and should make that steel in the U.S. and I will continue to work for fair trade policies that support good-paying jobs here at home."

Construction began recently on the 2,148-mile oil pipeline joint-venture between ConocoPhillips and Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada.

The $5.2 billion Keystone Pipeline will connect subsidiaries of one of the continent's largest providers of gas storage, TransCanada in Hardesty, Alberta, to Patoka, Ill. -- about 65 miles east of ConocoPhillips' Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Ill., and to another refinery in Borger, Texas.

"Manufacturing of steel and pipe is a global business these days," said Jim Prescott, a spokesman for the Keystone Pipeline project on behalf of TransCanada. "The specifications for this pipe are very complex. There are issues regarding quality, quantity, price and the ability of the steel manufacturer and pipe manufacturer to deliver and meet the criteria on time. The ability of this particular pipe manufacturer to meet the criteria is why we selected it."

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