Another Letter to the Editor from David Griggs, of Trout Lake Townsihp. He’s the one who every so innocently called Tom Micheletti, who started bitching at him, saying he’d been (GASP!) talking to that Carol Overland! And he hadn’t, he was just concerned about a big gas pipeline and a transmission line through his yard, but he paid attention to what Tom said and shortly thereafter we had a great chat! David’s been looking at this “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS” claim, and actually read the Duluth U jobs report, and read the Excelsior application, and noted the numbers didn’t add up! (you can find the entire application at He’s got this great habit of going right to the source… and … well, read for yourself!


Here’s Grigg’s Letter to the Editor in the Grand Rapids Herald Review:

Reader questions if power plant will result in local jobs

Last Updated: Friday, May 26th, 2006 05:18:10 PM


I attended the public information meeting organized by Excelsior Energy Inc. (aka the coal gasification plant) in Taconite on May 16. Iâ??ve heard many arguments for and against the proposed plant.

The No. 1 reason most people give for supporting the plant is: â??We are an economically depressed community; we need jobs.â? In an informational sheet handed out at the meeting, under â??Job Creation,â? the number of peak construction jobs is quoted at 3,000. However, in the application to the Public Utilities Commission it lists 1,200-1,400 as the peak work force. The PUC application also states â??The labor will be provided through the local Building Trades.â? But the information handout provides the names of Fluor, ConocoPhillips and Siemens as construction contractors, and theyâ??re not local! When I asked about this, Excelsior admitted that construction contracts will not go to local companies because of the nature of the technology being built.

Regarding the permanent jobs to be created, the informational handout claims that â??MesabaOneâ? will employ more than 100 people during a typical year. The PUC application is close â?? about 107. The PUC application details the types of positions and the number of persons employed for each position. What both sources omit are the educational and experience requirements for each position.

I contacted a human resources person at the coal gasification plant in Terra Haute, Ind., who stated that upper management, engineers, chemists, and environmental personnel positions required at least a four-year college degree, which applies to about 15 out of 107 employees. That leaves 30 operators who must have â??previous power plant or similar experienceâ? and 60 other positions, such as millwrights, boilermakers, electricians, that requires training and experience in industrial settings such as refineries or power plants. The point the HR person stressed is that these are highly specialized jobs, and people canâ??t just walk in with little or no experience and expect to be handed a job.

Our community is being sold the idea that the jobs provided by this venture will go to local people, but the facts donâ??t support this argument. Will the permanent jobs at the plant be union jobs? I spoke with Local IBW31, the union at the Boswell plant, and they have nothing in writing. Large out-of-state contractors are going to get the big, high-paying construction contracts, and people with college degrees, extensive power plant training, and industrial experience are going to get the high-paying jobs. What does that leave the local residents?

These â??answersâ? raise more questions than they answer: Where are the 1,400 construction workers going to live for the three years the plant is being built? What needs, costs and impacts will all these workers and this facility have on the quality of life in our community?

David Griggs

But hey, I’ve got to be fair… Excelsior has not just already created “jobs,” but Excelsior has created “jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs!” Don’t believe it? Look at their lobbyist list! Excelsior has 16 registered lobbyists! Oh, wait, one terminated last week, so there’s only “jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs…”

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