Next Renewable Fuels project endorsed by unions, labor groups

By Next Renewable Fuels | July 07, 2022

Across the state of Oregon, labor organizers and unions have rallied together to endorse Next Renewable Fuels’ proposed $2 billion renewable diesel project at Port Westward. The project’s goals directly align with key federal initiatives to create good-paying, union jobs, to build modern and sustainable infrastructure, and to chart the US towards an equitable, clean energy future. Specifically, Next expects to create more than 3,500 green jobs during construction, and 240 permanent green jobs during operation in Columbia County.

“This is a priority green project for the state,” said Willy Myers, Executive Secretary-Treasurer at Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council. “These aren’t just jobs, these are career opportunities in the growing green fuels industry, something our union members are eager and proud to be at the forefront of here in Oregon,” he continued.

Supporters of the project from the organized labor sector in Oregon include:

    •Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council

    •Oregon State BTC

    •Northwest Council of Carpenters

    •UFCW Local 555

    •Oregon AFL-CIO

    •Longview Kelso BTC

    •Salem BTC

    •Lane-Coos-Curry-Douglas BTC

    •Southern Oregon BTC

    •Central Oregon BTC

    •Pendleton BTC

    •Northwest Oregon Labor Council

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, to ensure local and union hiring are prioritized, proof points in Next’s commitment to workers.

“The benefits of prioritizing local hiring and using skilled union labor to build this cornerstone project goes beyond jobs,” said Chris Efird, CEO and chairperson of Next Renewable Fuels. “It’s about building a sustainable community and economy that is also environmentally sound.”

The climate benefits of renewable diesel, which burns 60-80 percent cleaner than fossil fuel diesel, and the added environmental benefit of nearly 500 acres in wetland restoration are also central reasons for the pronounced labor support of the project. 

“Our members live along major transportation corridors and many work around diesel equipment day in and day out, so this project will directly benefit their health and well being,” said Paul Philpott, member engagement representative of the Northwest Carpenters Union. “We believe cleaner, greener, renewable fuels must be part of the climate change solution and are excited to see NEXT going above and beyond to become a cornerstone of our community and a true partner of working families."

Full project details can be found at