The recent announcement of CH2M’s closing of their local office highlights why I believe our city and county would be betting on a losing horse if our local economy became more dependent on non-renewable energy. I believe companies in the fossil fuel industry are some of the worst corporate citizens. They’ll take a community’s non-renewable resources out of the ground and leave the land polluted for thousands of years, but then hit the road as soon as the money starts drying up. Never mind the potential for tragic accidents, often the result of profit-driven negligence.
Certainly the industry provides many of the best paying jobs in the area, but we should be focused on putting those well-educated and hardworking engineers, technicians and craftspeople to work on local and sustainable projects that won’t pull up their stakes at the whims of a fickle global economy. However much Whatcom County may have benefited from being a major refiner over the past 50 years, I believe the next 50 years must mark a move away from fossil fuels if we hope to preserve what makes this land and water so great.