We need to clarify key points related to the low-pressure-gathering pipeline being constructed by WBI Energy on behalf of Fidelity Exploration & Production Company near Moab. First of all, it is our firmly held view that Dennis Stiles of the Western Ranchers Alliance and Chad Gilbert, a business agent for Pipeliners Union 798, are union organizers engaging in a form of protest against our decision to engage a non-union contractor. I’m quite certain this claim will be denied, but there is plenty of evidence to support this assertion.
In the January/February 2014 Pipeliners Union #798 newsletter “Blue Light Reports” (pg. 4), Gilbert uses his monthly column to thank Stiles and others for their assistance “in getting the jobs to go union.” The WRA Web site also lists two current action items. One is our pipeline near Moab. The other is the Front Range Pipeline Project, where many of the same safety concerns with pipeline construction are listed. This project was completed using non-union labor. A coincidence? Probably not.
And, based on questions from local environmentalists, we are quite certain the WRA has been engaging with these groups to further their union agenda.
Please understand we are not against union contractors; we use them frequently and will continue to do so. For this project, however, the selected contractor had the right combination of capabilities and experience for this specific job.
This project has been approved following a public-comment period. We are compliant with all requirements outlined in BLM’s Environmental Assessment, despite claims to the contrary. As a result, we are concerned the perceived issues are unduly alarming the public, which is an injustice to Moab citizens.
Having a protracted discussion about non-existent issues falsely raised to alarm the public serves no one’s interest other than the union activist’s agenda. Rather than responding to this never-ending attack, we are going to concentrate on building a safe and reliable pipeline.
Both WBI Energy and Fidelity are long-lived businesses that started operations in the 1930s. We could not have stayed in business this long with shoddy or unsafe work. That’s not how we operate.
Here’s the bottom-line: The construction conditions and pipeline material specifications were clearly spelled out in BLM’s Environmental Assessment. We continue to follow all the stipulations in this critical document. We invite the union representatives and the environmental activists to contact us directly with their concerns and, if we can improve our operations based on their comments, we will do so.
Fidelity Exploration & Production Company and WBI Energy, Inc.