“It’s Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…”

Schweitzer Waves White Flag on Big Rigs

By JC

super sized

It seems that in lieu of any rational economic development proposals from Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-Imperial/Exxon) to mitigate the impacts of the collapse of the housing construction (timber) industry and Stone Container, it is best to lay down and let another multinational corporation walk all over us:

“If I could wave a magic wand and get Stone Container open again and get the timber industry going again, I’d do that,” Schweitzer said Friday. “In lieu of that, $68 million worth of road work and flaggers and utility work along the highways – I guess we’ll take it. It’s $68 million worth of jobs [associated with the Kearl big rig project].”

Well, no. 32 million of those 63 million oil dollars are the cost of transport. Not jobs or mitigation costs. Those are dollars paid to out of state/country employees to move the dang things–not jobs for locals. Never mind that the project will disrupt traffic along highways 12 and 200 in western Montana, and create safety hazards and emergency response nightmares. It’s full speed ahead, damn the EA:

“[Schweitzer] scoffed at fears that western Montana will become a permanent vessel for big rigs to the Canadian oil fields and elsewhere.

“That’s not the proposal at all,” he said. “This is temporary for 200 loads and nobody’s proposed a permanent corridor. That’s why it’s an (environmental assessment) and not an (environmental impact statement).”

Except, Governor Big Oil, Exxon did “Propose to create permanent ‘High/Wide Corridor’s through Montana”, as revealed in this MDOT presentation prepared by MDOT Director Jim Lynch last July:
permanent corridor

Of course, in the another quote from him in the Missoulian article, he contradicts himself by saying he’ll try harder the next time a proposal like this comes along:

The governor said he pitched hard – “but I’ll pitch even harder next time” – to see that the equipment to be hauled through the state is built “in some place like Great Falls or Cut Bank or Havre, as opposed to being built in Korea.”

So you say we need an EIS if it is going to be a permanent corridor? Then you’d better order Exxon and MDOT to get to work on an EIS. Or are you just a liar? How dumb do you think we are that you think we can’t read and put 2+2 together???

Even Missoula’s City Council recognizes the falsehoods behind those who want to dismiss this project as a one-off needing just an EA, and have prepared a resolution dated May 10th, 2010 that one would assume would be presented to City Council soon:

WHEREAS, the construction required for these large loads will create a permanent high/wide corridor through Montana and Missoula that will attract the interest of additional oversize trucking projects destined for Alberta, as set forth in the draft Environmental Assessment’s (EA) Past, Present and Reasonably Foreseeable Impacts section and in MDT Director Jim Lynch’s 2009 “Proposed High and Wide Corridors Briefing” to a Montana Legislature committee; and

WHEREAS, the draft EA’s Purpose of the Project does not address the creation of a permanent corridor to serve future oversize;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Missoula City Council hereby declares that complying with the spirit and letter of MEPA and NEPA will require environmental review taking the form of a programmatic joint EIS under MEPA and NEPA and urges MDT to begin such a process in cooperation with affected or involved federal agencies, fully involving the public and exhaustively evaluating the impacts of creating a permanent high/wide commercial transportation corridor from the Port of Vancouver to the Alberta tar sands.

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 10th day of May, 2010.

So folks, get out there and make sure this resolution passes City Council, and get on Schweitzer’s case about his blatant lying here.

And the Clark Fork Coalition noted in its Take Action bulletin that:

“The Port of Lewiston anticipates that “If one oil company is successful with this alternate transportation route, many other companies will follow their lead.” It is obvious that this route is planned to be a permanent industrial corridor to be in use for the forseeable future.”

Somebody needs to get his head out of Imperial/Exxon’s ass the sand and call for a full blown EIS.

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  1. A fine point of clarification that people may have missed during the Imperial/Exxon/MDT presentation the other night – when Imperial/Exxon says that it is bringing $68 million into the Montana economy, they came to that number (to paraphrase) ‘through a complex fiscal analysis that takes into effect the total economic impact’ – in other words, ‘trickle down economic theory’ at work.

    It won’t be $68 million in jobs – it won’t even be $32 million in jobs. Lord knows the multiplier they used to get to that $68 million, but it isn’t what they’re implying it will be.

    Secondly – a point that is very important and can not be emphasized enough. MEPA is NOT a decision document. The state does not use it that way. So even an EIS under MEPA – even if it does analyze significant impacts – the best it will do is it will more thoroughly look at mitigative measures AND it will inform the public as to the impacts on their socio-economic and natural environment.

    So it may come to the conclusion that fisheries may be impacted…and it may come to the conclusion that the tourism industry will be impacted…but that’ll be it.

    Now – to add – I love how the story you link to regarding Governor Schweitzer’s stance on this project closes out with a “this is a temporary thing.” – Obviously, Schweitzer hasn’t read the EA, as Imperial/Exxon clearly states within the document itself – and keep in mind that the EA has also been signed as having met the obligations under MEPA by MDOT Duane Kailey – that it is highly likely that others will use these improvements and this corridor in the future.

    Not only that – Lewistown port has put millions into its port in the last year. That was not for naught, as Lewistown County Commissioner Doug Zenner notes: “If the port develops like it is, we could be the inland port for wind turbines to the Midwest, for gasification projects and coal fields in Wyoming and in Montana.”

    Kim Briggeman’s article, btw, is excellent. Montana could use a few more legislators as wise as Alberta Legislative Assembly’s Hugh MacDonald.

  2. Big Swede

    The Gov. must be a Merle fan.

    “The white line is the life line of a nation.”

  3. Binky Griptight

    Hmm, a permanent High/Wide Corridor through Montana? Could this be codewords for a bypass around Missoula?

  4. Lizard

    if jobs are the only thing that matters, then i have a suggestion: why don’t we legalize prostitution. there’s no point in letting nevada have all the fun (and beneficial tax revenue) from the sex industry. when the religious folks and other puritanical naysayers decry this move as being harmful to the community, remind them it’s creating jobs. there’s simply no argument against the creation of new jobs, right?

  5. Moorcat

    First, let’s say that the actual figure is around $15,000,000 in jobs. that is roughly half of what the original person posted. $15,000,000 is a LOT of money when you are talking about people actually working. It is also a lot of money coming into the Montana Economy.. an economy that could desperately use it.

    I am not saying that I support this idea – in fact, I really don’t know enough about it to support or fight the plan. But I will say that $15,000,000 in jobs for Montanans is a HUGE plus in my book.

    If the lack of an Environmental Impact Study is your only disagreement with this plan, push for one, but don’t negate the possibility of a huge influx of money to the state – more importantly to this state’s workers – simply because you don’t like the idea of large trucks passing through.

    Moorcat

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