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Front Page » September 13, 2005 » Opinion » What the future may bring is uncertain
Published 3,263 days ago

What the future may bring is uncertain


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor

It's an obvious statement.

The future is uncertain. It always is.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about Baard Energy and their possible plans to put a coal gasification plant in the Wellington area.

It's an exciting prospect because such a plant would double the countys tax base, provide 200 direct jobs int he plant itself and between 500-700 jobs in the coal mining industry. Of course, a plant that costs $2.6 billion would also provide much more spin off employment as well.

However, since I wrote that, almost everyone I have talked to has been negative about such a development. Most who comment say it will never happen; others say they don't want it here.

Very few are hopeful about it.

I find it curious, yet predictable that people feel that way. Sometimes, in looking for a story, we in the media jump the gun and spread the good news about something that eventually doesn't happen.Sometimes we are led down a path that has no end too. Often what we and others report about developments in the community never come to pass, or take so long or turn out so differently than we predicted that people no longer listen to us.

But journalists don't make up the stories of economic good news. We get those stories from reliable, in-the-know sources. We often get them from the horses mouth, so to speak, from the very people who are coming into our community and planning their industries or businesses.

There are a million reasons why in the final analysis a business doesn't locate in Carbon County. Reasons for failed dreams run the gamut from government regulations to poor capital backing.

Business startups, industry transfers or new projects take a lot of work and are very complicated. To get one going, even when experienced people are involved in the management of it, takes a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of money and at least a little luck.

Many have complained to me that they hear way too many stories about businesses that are "about to move here." They say that wolf has been cried way too often when it comes to the economic front. They say we ought to stop reporting stories unless something is a sure thing.

I have spent many hours looking back at the archives of our paper, doing research for many different kinds of articles. In every year of every decade that this county has existed there were reports in the paper that some business or another that was going to move to the Carbon area. A few of those I have seen in those long ago printed pages are here today, some not only surviving, but thriving. Others have flown away on the wisp of a dream.

Does that mean we should stop reporting on "possibilities" and totally stick to what definitely will happen? I don't think so. Sometimes it takes a communities backing to get something done; sometimes it takes their will power. Without information about what could happen, public opinion can't emerge, either in a positive or negative way about a business or industry moving to an area.

As much as the plans Baard Energy has for our area may change our way of life, I am in favor of any industry that could provide good jobs for our citizens. Any plans for such a venture should be at least relayed to the public so they can prepare and think about the possibility.

No city, county or even country will get 100 percent of the businesses that explore the possibility of locating there. Few even get 50%. But a few do stick even in areas where other businesses have not located. Sooner or later, particularly in this era of short energy and rising prices, Carbon county is bound to get one of those businesses to locate here.

The future today is uncertain. But then, when hasn't it been.




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