This is a response to several letters and the position apparently of our mayor and the Kalispel Tribe to the silicon smelter proposed for Newport, Wash., by a Canadian firm.
I, too, was concerned by the environmental concerns, but also saw the need to bring more well-paying jobs to this area. I was on the fence concerning this issue.
After a recent conversation with my employer, I have fallen off the fence in favor of the smelter. The main reason, Washington state has some of the most stringent environmental laws in the country. My company has a newer facility in west Spokane. They needed to punch a hole in the roof to vent ozone from one of our machines. The hoops they had to jump through for this simple action was complicated to say the least.
There is also the fact that there is a similar facility in Moses Lake, which the state approved and it's doing just fine. There is no apocalyptic scenarios, which the anti-smelter positions paint.
Also, could the Kalispel Tribe's opposition be because it would compete for their workers? An income the smelter pays they can't match?
Finally, I am not a conservative, a climate warming denier or a coal/oil energy supporter. I am, yes, a Democrat. Apparently a dirty word here in Idaho. Even though I am not a liberal, I'm frequently tarred with that label. I have been for renewable energy sources, wind, water and solar and it's frankly time to put our money where our mouths are.
With adequate safeguards, I fully support the Newport silicon smelter.