Oregon AFL-CIO Convention supports Next Renewable Fuels

By Next Renewable Fuels | April 06, 2022

During the 2022 Oregon AFL-CIO Biennial Convention, a resolution to support the Next renewable diesel project received a unanimous vote of support, reinforcing a key tenant of their stance on supporting responsible green projects that are committed to skilled union labor.

The $2 billion renewable diesel project at Port Westward in Columbia County, Oregon will bring union jobs in the fast-growing green fuels industry to an underutilized, industrial-zoned area.

The AFL-CIO represents more than 300,000 workers in Oregon and this year the convention focused on voting rights, workers’ rights, and panel themes such as green energy and union empowerment. The resolution to support the Next renewable diesel project covered a number of these important themes and issues.

Central reasons for the unanimous vote on the resolution were the more than 3,500 green jobs the clean fuels project will provide during construction, and the 240 permanent green jobs it will bring to the community during operation.

“What’s great about these jobs is that they’re pathways to careers,” said Graham Trainor, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO.  “We’re talking family-wage apprenticeships and long-term career-building, union jobs. Many of our members work around diesel equipment or live in communities along major transportation corridors so this project will directly benefit our health – and the health of working families across Oregon. We’re honored to support a project that is a win for workers, for the environment, and for the future of greener, cleaner fuels in Oregon.”

Next has signed both a letter of understanding with the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council and NW Regional Council of Carpenters, and a neutrality agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, proof points in its commitment to help ensure the project is union built and operated. Chris Efird, CEO and chairman of Next Renewable Fuels, has reinforced the priority of local hiring and the benefits of using skilled union labor to build such a cornerstone project in the transportation sector.

Other core benefits outlined in the resolution and validated through the unanimous vote of confidence includes the climate benefits of renewable diesel, which is 60-80 percent cleaner than fossil fuel diesel, and the added environmental benefit of nearly 500 acres in wetland restoration that is also part of Next’s commitment to the community.

Full project details can be found on the Next Renewables website. The unanimously passed Oregon AFL-CIO resolution can be found here.