On Nov. 16, Pratt & Whitney had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the beginning of its administrative occupancy of its new plant. Production is expected to begin in the spring.
In its press release about the event, P&W happily stated that it has met or exceeded its own goals for greenhouse gas, water and waste management, and that the building has obtained LEED certification.
An Asheville Watchdog article said, “The company noted during the ceremony that its airfoils help improve jet engine efficiency by up to 50 percent.”
Let’s be clear that war is not green, and the burning of jet engine fuel is one of the largest contributors to climate change. No amount of greenwashing or increased efficiency is sufficient to address the existential emergency humanity is now facing.
Yet, at the gala ceremony, Gov. Cooper celebrated the growing aerospace industry presence in North Carolina and our supposed status as the most military-friendly state in the country.
And Rep. Brian Turner and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Clark Duncan talked exuberantly about recruiting more aerospace companies to fill up the 900 additional acres that Biltmore Farms has set aside for this purpose.
What tragic tunnel vision our elected officials and business leaders have. With their eyes set only on so-called economic development, they fail to see or act on the very real threats to our very existence on this planet.
What does it matter that a plant is better at environmental design when it is intended to make products that continue to add huge amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere?
How do more military-related jobs here keep us safe from the global threat of nuclear annihilation Raytheon and its fellow war corporations increasingly provoke in their endless quest for growth in arms sales?
There is plenty of research to show that we can generate more jobs with investments in sustainable energy, education, health, infrastructure, almost anywhere other than the military-industrial complex.
Isn’t it apparent that a primary reason that P&W is moving its operation here is because it will be able to use high-tech methods and exploit nonunion labor in order to put less money into people and more into its own profits? This is what multinational corporations are good at. And our local leaders eat it right up.
The shiny object that is the P&W plant and the plans for more of the same are not economic developments that our community should be feeling proud about. They are shameful concessions to a powerful war industry that is leading us in exactly the wrong direction.
— Ken Jones