It’s easy these days to rally behind any project that promises job creation and tax earnings, despite long-term costs. Unfortunately, this eagerness in desperate times is exactly what large companies like Australia’s Ambre Energy prey upon. Transporting eventually 44 million tons of coal annually along the Columbia River, through Vancouver and Longview, for export to China will profit the company exponentially; they hope to secure this trespass through our communities by dangling in our faces an uncertain number of short-term jobs and even more uncertain tax revenue.
What Ambre wants us to ignore is the lasting damage of their ploy, including diminished property values. Temporary construction jobs created will negate the need for more permanent local construction and management positions as the coal-dusted surroundings and waterfront become nonviable for development. Denigrated air and water quality will ultimately cost taxpayers a fortune in environmental mitigation and health care costs for treatment of maladies caused by exposure to coal dust.
It’s certain that we are in tough times, but let us not make a more difficult road ahead by selling our community, our environment, and our health for so cheap a price. Urge your elected officials to protect our local and lasting interests now.