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View Diary: Bulk Coal Carrier crashes into BC's Westshore Terminal spilling coal into the Salish Sea (81 comments)

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  •  I am sympathetic to the "jobs" argument, but... (1+ / 0-)
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    bleeding blue

    the unions who make that argument most often are the building trades and construction unions that (they hope) will end up build the thing for the next couple of years. And with all due respect to the building trades unions, they have the queerest notions sometimes, in large part I think because they are so heavily dependent on the boom and bust cycle of capitalism.

    I have my own problems with the construction unions... there's talk of building a new basketball and hockey stadium in Seattle partially at public expense (never mind that we've already got a perfectly good basketball arena, and that the private citizens who are financing the new stadium could pay for it all out of their own pockets if they wanted to). The construction unions have, of course, been supporting the project, but their support is extremely short sighted. A stadium is a one time thing. Building it will only take two to four years, depending on how quickly it goes, and after the stadium is done being built, what then? I suppose the unions are counting on the housing market having recovered by then, but what if it doesn't?

    Moreover, the jobs that stand to be lost due to the effects of the stadium have to be considered too. The proposed stadium would be located quite close to the Port of Seattle, right in the middle of an industrial area. Increased traffic from the stadium would make traffic an even bigger problem than it is, and over the long run would stand to lose the port business, since it would take so long for goods to leave the port and get onto the highway. Ultimately, I think trading jobs at the port for jobs selling hotdogs and tickets is a bad trade any way you look at it.

    I am beginning to agree that whatever jobs would be gained by building this coal terminal are not worth the price. There are too many things that could go wrong, both as discrete events and as long term problems. What about all the traffic mitigation that needs to happen (but probably won't) to deal with coal trains three miles long going at very slow speeds? What happens if China decides in a few years to cut down on coal imports, and the American coal companies suddenly no longer have customers to sell to? What about all the air pollution that will be caused by the coal dust? And what about the jobs, anyway? Will they be union jobs? What will the pay and benefits be like? We don't know.

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