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Please begin with an informative title:

They offer a few crumbs to the economically stressed community.  "Jobssssss.  Yesssss, precious.  Jobssssss.  And if you don't want them, we know a town that does, just across the border.  The Others, you know.  Don't let them take your jobs away."

They cook up a number like X = (Actual Jobs) * (Years) * (Massage Parlor Multiplier) and trumpet it as if it as a real jobs number.  You know, like the kind of real jobs we used to have, that lasted more than a year.

After the permits are issued, the reality arrives.  Many of the jobs aren't locally sourced, and they don't last long.  Long after those few enough construction job have left forever, leaving three lonely guys in a computer room operating the pipeline, or the terminal, the impacts remain.  The pollution.  The spills.  The climate impacts.  The lost opportunity - because your community could have spent that time and energy building something worthwhile and enduring.

The breaking wave of these schemes are large scale carbon export plans from North America.  Keystone XL is the obvious and best known example.  At the same time as Keystone XL is playing out, there are plans to infest Whatcom County, WA with the largest coal export terminal in North America.  The entire west coast of North America is threatened with an array of carbon export plans, for both coal and dirty tar sands oil.

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Coming soon to a town near you
There are plenty of reasons why these carbon export schemes are stunningly bad ideas, the pinnacle of the stupid being the amount of carbon, previously locked away, that will be liberated on the global combustion market and into the atmosphere if these projects are not stopped.  

There's lots of information about that immense problem - this diary is about a specific aspect of the plans.

They are fooling, and cowing, communities into participating in their own destruction.

The deception starts, of course, with the inflated job numbers.  They really do take the job number and multiply it by the number of years (say two years, for construction) to get job * years as if it was a job number.   And yes, there really is a massage parlor multiplier in the number.  Don't even mention that these job numbers are small compared to the job opportunities in solar power or in upgrading our power stations to save lives.

The job promotion is just classic lying.  I could almost accept that as normal, these days.  What, you expect sharks not to eat fish?

What really gets me is this premise, very actively pushed by the hired guns of the project proponents and currently creating despair here in Whatcom County WA:

"It's going to happen anyway, so you may as well take the jobs."
That, as my good friend Woodrow used to say, is what really chaps my butt.

Let's take that apart and see how much it sucks.

Coal town?
This is a project that should not happen.  It should not happen anywhere.  But they say we should accept and even advocate for it - here - because we'll get a few crumbs.  A few temporary jobs.

The supposed issue is that if we stop the project - here - that some other community will accept the crumbs and so we'll be out of "luck".  We achieved nothing because the project, and its enduring global impacts, happened anyway.

Here's an extremely pointed and intentionally polarizing analogy:

Somebody comes by and offers you money to poison your neighbor, who has not done anybody any harm.  You figure that somebody is going to do it regardless, so you may as well take the cash.  And after all, it's just business.  Right?
Well the only difference between that analogy and the reality is that you don't know exactly who will be harmed. Does that matter?.

There is only one answer: We shall not participate in our own destruction.

Any time we hear about another community that might be "competing" for the privilege of hosting a carbon export facility, all that should mean to us is that it's another community that we can help out, compare notes with, and combine forces with, in order to stop carbon export.

Then there's the macro version of this: China is going to burn coal anyway, so we, as a nation, may as well take the cash.  This line of reasoning is even worse.  It enables people to say, in turn, "China is not reducing GHG emissions, so why should we?"  Well, if we send them a billion tons of coal, and outsource all of our manufacturing to them, don't we have just a wee bit of responsibility for what occurs over there?

The initial permitting process is the critical and in fact only realistic chance to stop these projects.  Once the permit is issued, and construction begins, you will never be rid of it.  The vampire is at the window - if you invite it into your house, you're going to be out of luck.

For proposed or potential coal export projects, here is the current list to my knowledge:

Cherry Point, WA (Coal Export)  Currently the biggest and most immediate threat.
Longview, WA (Coal Export)  
Hoquaim, WA (Coal Export)
Port of Morrow, OR (Coal)
Port of St. Helens, OR (Coal)
Westshore, BC (Coal, existing, Expansion threat)
Ridley Coal Terminal, Prince Rupert, B.C (Coal, Existing, Expansion threat)

On tar sands export, some exceptional recent dKos coverage is here (and it's just from the last few days!):

DWG on First Nations protecting their land and people

RLMiller all over Keystone    With followup

Ellinorianne about the Canadian government messing with our energy policy to promote their dirty oil

Lefty Coaster on ramming through tar sands pipelines that will pollute the Salish sea

Any time you think that you don't have a choice, you actually do.  Any time you think you have to do something that's wrong, you don't.

Save our Beautiful Clean Air
Not Here.  
Not in Our community.  
Not in any other place.

Not Today.  
Not Tomorrow.  
Not Next Year.

We shall not participate in our own Destruction.

 

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 07:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Community Spotlight.

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