Last month, extreme greenies — part of the BreakFreePNW group — camped out on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train tracks near Anacortes in an attempt to stop shipments leading to the nearby Shell Puget Sound Refinery and Tesoro Anacortes Refinery. As Shift reported, not only did the BreakFreePNW protesters trespass when they descended on the train tracks, they made a huge mess and did not clean up after themselves.
Skagit County officials said the extreme greenies left a whopping 2,300 pounds of trash behind.
In other words, they wreaked havoc on the community — causing damage and costing taxpayers. That is a stark contrast to the Shell and Tesoro oil refineries’ contribution to the community.
A new study commissioned by the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce found that the Shell and Tesoro oil refineries have substantial impact on the economic wellbeing of Fidalgo Island. Via GoSkagit.com:
Key findings include that the 217 refinery workers living on Fidalgo Island spend $4.5 million on the island — not including purchases such as real estate and vehicles.
Also, the jobs created by the refineries — the refinery workers plus the additional jobs they create — represent 7 percent of employment on Fidalgo Island.
Anacortes Chamber of Commerce Director Stephanie Hamilton also points out that the closest jobs multiplier to the oil refineries is marine trades.
A look at the bigger picture — i.e. how Washington’s five major petroleum refiners impact our state’s economy — offers similar findings. According to a Washington Research Council report released in 2014, the oil refineries had a” total employment multiplier of 12.88, meaning that each direct refining job generates an additional 11.88 jobs in the state, for a total employment impact of 26,060 jobs resulting from the five refineries.”
Here’s a table that grants a clear perspective:
The 2014 report calculated that each petroleum job adds a whopping $880,000 of state personal income, a total income contribution of nearly $1.8 billion to the state economy. The facts that the refineries offer “high wages and extensive use of highly paid contract labor” help explain the high jobs multiplier/contribution to our state’s economy. In 2013 alone, the oil refineries provided $92 million in contract labor.
But, jobs are not the only way the industry contributes to our state’s future. Refineries are highly taxed and regulated (nearly three times the state and local tax burden of a comparable refinery in California) — which means they provide a healthy revenue stream for our state. According to the report:
The five refiners paid $268.6 million in state and local taxes in 2013. This total included $110.0 million in business and occupation (B&O) tax, $116.7 million in hazardous substance tax, $24.3 million in property tax and $5.9 million in sales and use taxes…
In addition, the refiners $12.7 million in regulatory fees in 2013…
Including the indirect and induced effects, the refining industry generated $53 million in sales and use and $125 million in B&O taxes.
Washington’s five oil refineries also have a record of investing in and contributing generously to the communities in which they are located — Whatcom County, Skagit County, and Pierce County. In 2013, the firms invested $100 million in construction and capital investments, including safety and efficiency improvements and environmental compliance.
And, in 2013, the refineries and their employees “contributed $1.7 million to various community causes.” The firms comprised 47% of the contributions.
So, while extreme greenies like those from the BreakFreePNW group cause environmental damage and hardship for the community, the very refineries they are protesting do the opposite.
Sounds about right.