Oil: Gobs of risk, very little reward

This is in response to Jim Leggett’s Feb. 21 letter to the editor: “Chicken Little fear of oil trains.”

In many areas of contemporary life, fear is the coin of the realm. Thus we apply “extreme vetting.” The Environmental Impact Statement process is how we do that with projects like the crude oil terminal. We have been observing the decision making behaviors of the players involved for some time.

During the week of Oct. 19, 2015, Westway Grays Harbor (now Contanda) sent out large colorful postcards to all postal recipients. The photos showed a sunny and serene harbor and said, “We are seeking to expand our terminal operations, which will create more local family-wage jobs in Grays Harbor. By supporting our project, you can help build a stronger future for our community.”

There was no information on them other than a website. Perhaps Mr. Leggett saw one of these postcards and was entranced. The postcard campaign indicated how Westway makes decisions. They tried to minimize the seriousness of the project. They thought the people of Grays Harbor were chumps. They thought we were so hard up we would take any corporate crumbs tossed our way. Why would responsible business people decide to spend money on huge postcards? They should be saving up for mitigation requirements and compensation payouts.

We who oppose the oil terminals do so because of the overwhelming evidence of negative impacts relative to marginal benefit. Even if no catastrophe happens, there just isn’t any money in it.

On page 7-7 of the Draft EIS, in the paragraph before Table 7-7, it says: “Essentially, all business taxes and net business income related to onsite operations and income earned by rail and vessel operators would leave Grays Harbor County and would not result in regional employment or income.”

Yes, risks must be taken in life to advance society. But here there is all risk and no advancement. Clinging to a petroleum based economy is going backwards. Take a risk on new sources of power. Take a risk on new modes of transportation. Take a risk on denying the permits. Chicken Little is saving up for a Tesla.

Robin Moore