When it comes to the Columbia River, organized labor almost always seems at odds with environmentalists and localists/NIMBYs. This much was true during the issue of the Gorge Casino in 2004 and 2005, and so again it has been true with the potential placement of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant in Bradwood, which is between Wauna and Brownsmead along Highway 30 adjacent to the Columbia River.
Just yesterday, the Oregon AFL-CIO formally endorsed the Bradwood LNG effort at their annual statewide convention. OPB via AP has the story:
SEASIDE, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon AFL-CIO has endorsed the proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas terminal near Astoria.
The members made the decision at its annual statewide convention this week.
Some critics have said the terminal would not bring many jobs to the area. But the AFL-CIO says the project would bring family wage jobs with good benefits and the terminal developer’s commitment to labor has been “impressive”.
The Bradwood Landing terminal will create an estimated 65 permanent, full-time jobs.
This, of course, has been a huge issue in Clatsop and Columbia Counties over the last few years. One cannot take a drive down the Lower Columbia River Highway without seeing the competing pro-business/labor and pro-environment sides supporting and opposing the LNG site, respectively. Here’s a look at the intensity of the visual warfare in the communities:
The Bradwood Landing project, led by Northern Star Natural Gas, has a much more professional, slick look befitting its corporate provenance:
And now, thanks to the convention that happened not so far away from the Bradwood site, Northern star Natural Gas can add the Oregon AFL-CIO logo to their constellation of created community connections. They also boast two top lobbying firms to represent them in the legislature: Alan Tresidder and the Gallatin Group, which among other people employs former Gordon Smith adviser Dan Lavey. The campaign for Bradwood LNG even has an office in downtown Astoria replete with its literature and other propaganda, whereas nearby local stores generally have large, cruder signs objecting to LNG in Oregon.
On the official side, Congressman Brian Baird of Washington recently came out against the Bradwood effort. Rep. David Wu won’t get involved, it seems. But according to sources in Salem, the area’s state representative, Rep. Brad Witt, is largely supportive of the effort.
It will be interesting to see if more government officials will take sides now that a major political group has gotten involved. It will be even more interesting to see how local residents’ place-based claims of opposition to LNG play out against a well-funded and well-represented corporate campaign.