WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Teamsters will start airing radio ads this week in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The campaign aligns the union with the Bush administration and sets it apart from much of organized labor.
The 60-second spots will air on radio stations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia this week as the House prepares to vote on the issue and other energy proposals. The ads will cost at least $20,000, said Teamsters spokesman Rob Black.
Pennsylvania and West Virginia were selected because of the impact energy exploration could have on their economies, union officials said. More than 200 businesses in those states are involved in Alaska petroleum exploration.
The ads say that opening the refuge could mean 75,000 new jobs -- ''Good jobs, union jobs'' -- with 40,000 of those in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Environmentalists get slammed for being ''so intolerant and excessive'' while jobs are being lost and families are hurting.
''Part of the problem? Not understanding that protecting the environment and developing new sources of energy go hand in hand,'' the ads say. Listeners are urged to call their representatives.
Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Teamsters and some of the more conservative construction and steel unions earlier this summer, when the Bush administration was trying to build support for its energy plan by touting job creation.
The Teamsters union, which supported former Vice President Al Gore in last year's election but sometimes tilts Republican, has been a thorn in the Bush administration's side on another issue -- whether to open the border to Mexican trucks.
The union has been lobbying against President Bush's plan to allow the trucks on America's roads on Jan. 1, in keeping with the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Senate is nearing a vote on the issue, and Democratic leaders predict passage of tougher safety standards for Mexican trucks. Bush prefers giving the trucks access to U.S. roads and then auditing Mexican trucking companies during the next 18 months.
The Teamsters union has been airing $50,000 worth of radio ads, opposing Bush's plan, in the Washington area.
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