To the editor:
In a recent exchange with another citizen troubled by the siting of proposed tank farms adjacent to downtown Mobile, he raised the following question “Why has the Theodore Industrial Park not been considered to house these proposed tank farms?” First, we must look at who the players are.
• Canadian National Railways owns the rail line outright from Alberta, Canada, to Mobile, ending behind the GM&O building adjacent to ARC terminals. CN does not need to pay any other rail carrier a “fee” to transport product on their rails. Bill Gates, Microsoft founder is deemed to have a beneficial ownership and/or control or direction of roughly 11.98 percent of CN, 51.7 million of its outstanding shares, for a combined value of roughly $4 billion to $7 billion.
• ARC Terminals is funded by Lightfoot Capital Partners LP, a New York based private equity firm. GE Energy Financial Services acquired a general partnership interest and a 58 percent limited partnership interest in Lightfoot Capital. Lightfoot Capital is the general partner and majority owner of Arc Terminals LP. Arc operates petroleum product terminals in eight states, with an aggregate storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels.
• Plains All-American, LP, is a huge Houston based national oil pipeline master partnership with a pipeline infrastructure that spans this country and into Canada. Their myriad of pipelines are part of a bigger plan that will connect them all and dominate the region.
• Gov. Robert Bentley has announced his intention to exploit the tar sands fields in northwest Alabama and use the Tenn-Tom Waterway to transport this product down our rivers for storage and transship through the Port of Mobile to foreign countries.
• The Alabama Port Authority is a state agency that benefits directly or indirectly from increased tonnage through the port. The Port Authority is responsible directly to the state and implementing state goals, ambitions and monetary remuneration.
Decisions made by big businesses and state agencies when it comes to their bottom line do not look at the welfare of the local population. These corporations are not “citizens” of Mobile, nor the State of Alabama, and sometimes not even the United States. What constitutes “acceptable risk” to them has nothing to do with the health, safety, welfare and environmental concerns of the citizens of Mobile.
There were alternative routes available for the pipeline through our watershed but that would have required more time and more money. So endangering the sole source of drinking water for 350,000 men, women and children was the obvious “sacrifice” and “acceptable risk” to be taken.
So we ask again, “Why not consider the Theodore Industrial Park”? Because too much has already been invested in downtown Mobile. Well, I say, “That’s just too bad.”