I am a long-time business owner in Warrenton. My husband and I own several rental properties in the Warrenton/Seaside area. I was disheartened to read that a pro-liquefied natural gas group had formed using the name "Warrenton Area Business Owners Alliance." It insinuates that all business owners are pro-LNG. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
I know that the current economic situation is dire. I know that jobs need to be created, but - why is it, that whenever faced with a hard economy, all the care and consideration for the environment, to get away from foreign dependence on energy, etc., goes out the window?
I cannot understand why the pro-LNG people can't recognize that:
1) Not many local jobs will be created by the LNG. Who do you know has the skills to build a LNG plant? How many local businesses worked on the new Home Depot in Warrenton? Everyone I spoke with there was from the East Coast. That is what they do, go around the country and build Home Depots. Do you think it will be any different with the LNG?
2) These LNG plants will be bringing in natural gas from foreign countries, adding to our dependence, and without any oversight in how that gas has been obtained, quality, etc. If this energy is so badly needed here in Oregon, then why not concentrate on a pipeline from Colorado, through Eastern Oregon (which is even more "sparsely populated" than us). Then we would be promoting our energy and creating more jobs in our country.
3) There is a willingness to again deal a blow to the fishing industry. Are you willing to put your fellow fishermen totally out of business so you can have a few jobs during the building process? Maybe a security or janitorial position for a lucky few? After spending billions on salmon recovery, shall we just give up? When was the last time you could get or afford a wild salmon meal?
I feel Warrenton would be well-suited to be the retail area for the North Coast. We already have Fred Meyer, Costco and Home Depot. Let's solicit more large chain stores. That way, everyone would have access to mainstream stores but, Astoria and Seaside could be the quaint, unique cities that tourists enjoy. I have never understood why the Warrenton commissioners would put a "no Wal-Mart" clause in the new Costco development. If, as they say, we have a majority of minimum wage earners, why not give them somewhere they can afford to shop?
Also, why can't we get some kind of marine repair going in Astoria? Let Astoria be "the" port where boats and ships of all sizes come to be repaired and upgraded. Let us keep expanding the cruise line stops. Get something into Astoria that folks would want to see and do. We already have a good start with our Lewis and Clark connection.
I feel there are many other opportunities that our area could pursue which would add to our quality of life, not diminish it. Please, think long term. Don't let your current desperation make unwise decisions.