This morning, John Burbank scribed a disconcerting account of oil politics in the southern residents’ backyard. The following paragraphs provide a glimpse into how the complex interactions of the petroleum industry and our State political system increase risks for killer whales in the Northwest.
BP also has its own salaried lobbyist dedicated to keeping watch over the Legislature. Their man in Olympia is William Kidd, whom BP pays $120,000 a year to prevent any new taxes or regulations from becoming law. He also has an expense account to wine and dine legislators. For example, Kidd took Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, out to dinner on July 12 in Boise. He took Morris out to dinner again on July 14. And again on Sept. 2. And again on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 in Regina, Saskatchewan. And again on Dec. 8 in San Diego. (Lobbyist expenses are public records in Washington, and available at www.pdc.wa.gov. )
What’s all the interest in Jeff Morris? He is the speaker pro tem, sort of like vice president of the House of Representatives. He also sits on the House Technology, Energy and Communications Committee, which deals with energy production. He is the CEO of Energy Horizons, which is sponsored by the oil company ConocoPhillips, and by the giant utility Pacificorps, among others. Morris’ district includes Anacortes, home of two oil refineries, and is close to two more refineries, including the BP refinery in Blaine recently cited for 13 serious safety violations.
So why not wine and dine Rep. Morris and make sure that a word here or there could cast doubt about legislation for cleaning up Puget Sound? It is money well spent. BP refines 225,000 barrels of crude oil a day in Washington. The Clean Water Act would have cost BP at least $200,000 a day in new fees. Paying Kidd $120,000 a year and picking up the meal tabs for a few legislators was a wise investment — for BP, not for us. Not for Puget Sound. And not for our future.
We have at least 5 refineries in western Washington: 2 in Anacortes (Tesoro and Shell), Tacoma (U.S. Oil & Refining), 1 in Blaine (BP’s Cherry Point Refinery), and 1 in Ferndale (Conoco Phillips). Anyone know how much oil is transported to/from each of these facilities, and by what means (tankers, pipeline, rail, truck, etc)?