Since the city announced an environmental review for the proposed methanol refinery last fall, residents have been asking “OK. What impacts will the factory create?” We have heard nothing but vague, undocumented promises that the plant, the largest of its kind in the world, will produce no adverse consequences.
After two hearings this winter, in which several thousand people showed up to express concern, NWIW suspended the review, in order to “better inform the public.”
Now they’ve released an economic study, which concludes that the impact will be nothing but jobs, tax revenue, butterflies and unicorns (TNT, 4-14).
Where’s the analysis of the cost of health impacts? Of depressed housing values? Of increased taxpayer-funded expenses for infrastructure and city services? Of the cost of finding new sources for the plant’s mammoth consumption of water and electricity? Of the likelihood that a foreign-owned company could simply walk away from any accident that might occur with huge amounts of flammable and toxic materials in the middle of an earthquake-prone city?
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NWIW’s report may have been on the front page, but it’s a well-crafted promotional advertisement, not a comprehensive analysis. It’s unfortunate that NWIW still refuses to take public concerns seriously.