On Energy, Another Hurray for Labor

By February 15, 2008Energy, Labor Unions

A typically sensible editorial from The Albany-Democrat Herald, in the heart of the Mid-Valley* of Oregon:

All the Mailbag correspondents who lately have denounced the proposed liquid natural gas terminal at Bradwood Landing on the Columbia River might be interested in what organized labor has to say.

“The Oregon AFL-CIO is solidly in support of a proposed liquid natural gas terminal along the Columbia River near Astoria,” the labor federation said in a press statement Wednesday, “The facility will create 450 construction jobs over three years, plus 65 permanent living-wage jobs, and generate $7.8 million a year in taxes for Clatsop County.”

The union already has an agreement that union contractors will build the terminal if it’s allowed. Jobs for its members obviously are the group’s main concern, but Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain also said of the project: “It will … help secure a more stable energy future for Oregon.”

The labor federation makes two other important points to answer critics who worry about safety and the environment.

On safety: “The natural gas will be held in two-foot-thick concrete double-wall storage tanks, and tankers will operate under strict regulations of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.” And on the environment: “The project will utilize the former site of the Bradwood lumber mill, which ceased operation in 1965 after more than 100 years.”

On this issue, some of Oregon’s Democratic politicians who oppose Bradwood Landing ought to listen to their supporters on the labor front. The labor leaders have as big a stake in a sound Oregon economy and reasonable energy prices as all the rest of us. Their strong endorsement of this project carries the weight of good sense. (hh)

But does good sense carry the day?

* Mid-Valley = midway between Buena Vista and Tangent.

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