TED Conversations

A Few Good Men

This conversation is closed.

Exporting Our Oil & Coal.

I live in Grays Harbor in Washington State. Here we are facing a tough decision; Whether our Port, the Port of Grays Harbor should expand to exporting Oil and Coal.

The port and entire region has been deeply effected by the recession and even before that the slow decline of the timber industry. The port however has one key advantage, its one full day closer to the ocean than any ports in the Puget Sound. In the past 6 years the port has expanded exponentially, shipping out cars from Detroit, corn and soybeans from the Midwest and ethanol and biodiesel from two local upstart companies. Lumber of coarse is still a major export.

Westway Terminals wants to build 4 new 200,000 barrel capacity tanks to store the Crude oil before shipping. Grays Harbor Rail Terminal LLC wants to use Terminal Three (where the proposed coal facility would be) to export oil as well, the terminal is next to the Bowerman Basin National Wildlife Refuge. For now the coal export facility has been abandoned due to local opposition. I’ll list the pros and cons, please tell me what you think.

Pros:
Millions of dollars in tax revenue for the port and the city of Hoquiam.
Improved infrastructure required for new export facility’s.
Millions in income for the Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad.
About 30-50 local jobs and another 50 in temporary construction jobs.
Major repairs that are needed on two 100 year old railroad bridges would be done.

Cons:
Increase rail traffic to a heavily used line,( Possibly 4-5 mile and a half long trains in and out each day).
Blockage of major roads daily to unload oil.
Potential for spills in harbor, currently there are no means to contain a spill of that possible magnitude.
Exporting a domestic product to overseas markets.
Impact of a spill on the local fishing and shellfish industry.

I could say more but I do believe I am running out of space, so should we be exporting our oil and coal? Should we even be using these fuels? I say no to both, what do you think?

Share:
  • Jan 14 2013: Duh - I thought the politicians were telling us that we need energy independence. Now we don't, and we need new ways to kill trees and Salmon. I need to think. Some fellow is apt to pull anything if he can hustle a buck.
  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Jan 13 2013: Anyone on the west coast should thoroughly understand the implications of doing what you suggest in the "ring of fire", (the globe's most highly volatile earthquake and tsunami zones) before you accept the threat of the damage that oil will do to you AND THE REST OF HUMANITY. Coal is one thing. Oil - quite another. Look to Japan to see how nuclear short-sightedness is yet another. If you loose your harbors, you can't just go to Walmart to buy more.

    Long term thinking is required, and long term thinking is not just about jobs or money. It's about much more important stuff.

    I also disagree with exporting our limited resources when so many Americans are NEEDY but unable to afford heat and other bare necessities. (Think the other coast for a minute. I used to live in Maine. The stories of suffering in winter were plentiful. But the northeast is not the only place where winter fuel prices are devastating. It's true for the bulk of this nation in winter.)
  • thumb
    Jan 13 2013: I would say that it would be idiotic for America to export ANY of its remaining materials and resources because there is quite likely enough to independently sustain the country and fund research for technologies that reduce the usage (thus extending the resource life-length vastly every decade until usage is negligible)

    Ofcourse its America so clearly the answer will be: SELL SELL SELL! SUBSIDIZE AND CUT THE OIL PRICE AT THE SAME TIME FOR NO LOGICAL REASON! DEPLETE THE RESOURCES AND BOMB VENEZUELA TO GET SOME MORE LATER!
    *CRAZED LAUGH IN EMPTY ROOM WITH THE LIGHTS TURNED OFF*
    or something of that nature...

    (and don't anyone even dare try and argue that the above isn't an entirely legitimate scene-for-scene possible scenario, because we all know it is, ha ha).
  • thumb
    Jan 14 2013: Jarrad, Wow .. tankers are lined up to off load oil from the mid east and else where and now we want to export. Coal our most abundent source of energy (and low coast) is being bashed and good arguments have been made to keep it. However that is all political and somewhat off topic. Sorry.

    There are a number of questions to be answered .. you have already made up your mind ... so for the open minded:

    1. How many accidents are there (oil spills) per 1000 tanker trips. What caused the spill? etc ...

    2. Do the pros out weigh the cons.

    a. Taxes, jobs, infrastructure upgrade, mini boom all sustainable

    b. Inconvience and the possibility of a spill.

    This boils down to economics VS environmental philosophies.

    Consider the tax money, jobs, and upgrades will occur somewhere. Can you really afford not to accept. Do you have alternative means of economic recovery available? Look at the city budget and long range forcast .... school funding ... parks and recreation ... upgrades to municipal facilities (sewer / water / roads / etc ..).

    This is in effect a economic decision and time to shelf emotions.

    You last paragraph expresses your emotional involvement ... your question expresses economic concerns.

    Based on the question ... accept both ... the pros outweigh the cons.

    When the conversation is complete .. count the number of pros and cons .. then analyze the whys. As TED is ultra liberal the environmentalist will weigh in heavy. The reasons being .. killing tress ... oil spills ... dying from coal power plants .. etc. Now read the question and see if any of those apply. Be fair as you have expressed your choice. Then rethink your answer. Lets us know in your summary.

    Be well and good luck. Bob.