Sanpete County Utah has a population of over 27,000 people, and is located 122 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah. Of late, in the ongoing push to build the much-needed Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal and replaced the lost low-skill, well-paying jobs that went away with the closure of the Oakland Army Base in 2000, Sanpete County has come into focus.
The reason is that Sanpete County is one of four Utah counties (which are Sevier, Carbon and Emery), which intend to provide financial support of $20 million from a $53 million state economic development fund.
The media consistently gets what the Utah PCIB does completely wrong. In all of the explanations I have read from traditional news organizations, they express surprise that the Utah Legislature (at least the Republican side) would think of using funds from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board for the ITS Oakland Bulk and Oversize Terminal.
Without spending more time on revealing those words from traditional media, let’s jump right to the real explanation of what the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board does – right from its own grant and loan program page:
The Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB) is a program of the State of Utah authorized in Section 35A-8-301, et seq. The goal of the CIB is to maximize the long term benefit of funds derived from these lease revenues and bonus payments by fostering funding mechanisms which will, consistent with sound financial practices, result in the greatest use of financial resources for the greatest number of citizens of this state, with priority given to those communities designated as impacted by the development of natural resources covered by the Mineral Leasing Act. TheCIB’s source of funding is a portion of federal mineral lease royalties returned to the State by theFederal Government. https://jobs.utah.gov/housing/community/cib/documents/cibreport.pdf
And the real reason the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal has come into focus is because the words “greatest use of financial resources for the greatest number of citizens of this state, with priority given to those communities designated as impacted by the development of natural resources covered by the Mineral Leasing Act” translate to “we need the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal to help save coal industry jobs, by allowing businesses in our counties a better way to get their coal product to the overseas markets that demand them.” If you understand that, then you do understand why the fund was tapped.
On The Supposed Reason For The Opposition To Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, Climate Change, And System Dynamics
Before I continue, let me get this out of the way: climate change is not something new, and because the fact is that climate change has been with us as a problem for most of my 58 years on this planet. I was born August 4th, 1962, in Chicago. That year, we had an estimated 180 million people in America and about 2.6 billion on the Earth, as a whole. Since then, the United States has expanded to 330 million people and the Earth is just over 7 billion people – we’ve added 4.4 billion more people in my 58 years.
There’s one fact in all of this: as we add more people to a room, the temperature in that room increases.
In 1979, and via a family friend, I was introduced to The Limits To Growth: a book by Dennis and Donnella Meadows, and The Club Of Rome-financed MIT Project on the Predicament Of Mankind (that was the title). It was written in 1971, and introduced to me the problem-framing concept called System Dynamics (I am now an expert in System Dynamics). System Dynamics was originally created by MIT Professor Jay Forrester and introduced in a book called Industrial Dynamics. But that was based on one kind of model made in a programming language called DYNAMO.
What the The Limits To Growth presented was a much more advanced System Dynamics model called World 3. As Magne Myrtveit put it in his paper “The World Model Controversy”:
In 1971 Jay Forrester published his book World Dynamics, where he presented a high-level simulation model of the socio-economic-environmental world system. The main purpose of the model and the accompanying book was to encourage an open debate about the long-term future on our planet. The World Model was created in a time where pollution and other negative effects of industrialization and economic growth started to become recognized. Forrester made the assumption that life on earth is bounded within certain limits, such as available space and resources. Based on this he concluded that exponential economic growth cannot continue forever; sooner or later one or more limits will be reached. The question, then, is how mankind can manage its own future in ways that can avoid an unpleasant encounter with the limits to growth.
Since then, a number of researchers have concluded that constant increases in population growth have caused global warming. The World Models forecast that, eventually, population will fall. Indeed, the World Models presented in the book The Limits To Growth, and then Beyond The Limits in 1993, both originally predicted that would happen in the year 2000 and then the forecast was adjusted for 2010; this is 2020. We’re 10-years into living on borrowed time, because the World’s population is still growing, and with it the rate of change in the climate.
The scientists who have emerged to publish on this and point the finger singularly at traditional energy as the cause of climate change are not trained in system dyanamics. Thus, they collect data, but lack the right paradigm from which to think about what numbers they gathered. World modeling using a system dynamics approach consistently shows population growth to be the problem. Moreover, The Limits To Growth models and books, introduced the concept of climate change decades ago. And in this, a number of scientists who are more focused on ecology have said this:
The largest single threat to the ecology and biodiversity of the planet in the decades to come will be global climate disruption due to the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. People around the world are beginning to address the problem by reducing their carbon footprint through less consumption and better technology. But unsustainable human population growth can overwhelm those efforts, leading us to conclude that we not only need smaller footprints, but fewer feet.
And to bring the point home, zero-emissions will not stop climate change pressures unless population growth slows. The good news, from every indicator, is that the gradual lessening of the rate of growth of population slowed from just over 2 percent 50 years ago to about 1.05 percent, today. So, from this, we have another 50 years of time. The “10 years from now” forecast of climate change impact should have happened in 2000, but it did not. But, the cold fact is the result, a reduced rate of growth in population, is the desired one. The point is, low emissions operation is the focus of the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, but the opposition to it, as well as the reasons for it, are unrealistic.
Note that, at the video’s 3:14 mark, Mr. Blackwell says that the use of rail rather than trucks supports the West Oakland Environmental Justice Movement (which he shorthand refers to as “things going on there”).
If Climate Change Due To Global Warming Is Here, And OBOT Is Low Emissions, Why Stop People From Working?
Now, the opposition to the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal has made a lot of wild and completely baseless comments about it. For example, some claim that it will cause coal in open hopper cars to go through poor neighbors in Oakland. Not true. First, OBOT will use covered hopper cars. Second, the rail lines used run through Port of Oakland land and Jack London Square, where the dwellings are for middle to high-income residents for the most part. Third, still others say that they don’t want coal to be delivered to China and other nations that rely on traditional energy.
The fact is that traditional energy is still cheaper to produce than renewable energy at this point, and efforts are being made to make it more environmentally friendly. Our focus should be in encouraging increases in rates of education as a way to cause a reduction in world population growth, faster. But robbing the workers in Sanpete County, Utah from jobs today because of a future that’s already here in climate change, and one that’s going to come in reducing rates of population growth, is nothing less than evil.
The four counties invested in this project all have strong economic ties to coal. With the demand for domestic coal dropping all the time, but booming in countries like Japan, the coal industry in Utah could stand to benefit a lot from access to an export terminal like the one ITS is developing.
The unique location of the port, which is being built at a former Army base on the Port of Oakland, has the two important components to make it all happen—a deep water bay for heavy coal ships, and a rail line connection. If the terminal is realized, 10 million tons of Utah coal could come in via rail each year, get loaded on ships and be exported to Asia.
Yet, with that, we have some in Utah, at the Salt Lake Tribune, openly saying that coal workers in Sanpete County should be transitioned to other supposedly “cleaner” jobs. The problem is we are in the middle of a Pandemic that has caused the elimination of many service jobs, while manufacturing and transportation positions largely remain. The Salt Lake Tribune seems more interested in driving support for businesses that the Huntsman Family has an investment in (they own the news organization), than saving the coal industry jobs in Sanpete County, Utah.
The reason I sought Insight Terminal Solutions as a client for Zennie62Media was not just that I have a history with OBOT that goes back to 1991, or because I have a network of 100 blogs and hundreds of social media and YouTube platforms, but because my formal training is in economic development. In other words, job creation for an urban area.
Sanpete County, Utah needs the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal for jobs, just as the homeless in West Oakland do. To deny both for flimsy reasons that crumble when someone asks why 18-wheel trucks are still running through West Oakland neighborhoods is criminal, or should be considered that.