Letter: New plant is leading us in wrong direction

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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


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6 thoughts on “Letter: New plant is leading us in wrong direction

  1. R.G.

    As for those jobs paying an average of $68K…let’s say for ease of argument that half pay $100k and half pay $36k…it will be interesting to have some follow-up articles about who winds up getting which jobs. Are the higher-paying jobs going to folks who relocate to WNC and buy homes here (while those at the lower end of the pay scale necessitate the clearing of forests for ‘affordable’ housing), further exacerbating many of our challenges? Something to watch and study…

  2. Voirdire

    We live in very dangerous times…. the Western Democracies vs the Dictatorships. This world war has begun… in case you hadn’t noticed. We need this P&W plant… and most probably more of them. And, just as importantly, universal health care and truly functioning public school systems. We also need to be making our own semi-conductor chips, solar panels et al… or make them in strategic partnerships with our Western Democratic allies. And we urgently need to strengthen our faltering democracy here at home from those whom are absolutely determined to undermine our most basic democratic institutions and constitutional rights, i.e. voting rights ..and now have even openly begun -inevitably, of course- to advocate for the suspension and/or termination of our/ the Constitution. We all know who THEY are… and what THEY are…. and what side of this equation they are on. Time to get real here. before it’s too late.

  3. Enlightened Enigma

    Wow, this sort of industry is a great boost to the WNC economy …sorry Gov Cooper had to butt into the ceremony. He loves the spotlight for doing nothing.

  4. indy499

    Writer and his little gang of a handful of people write the same laborious letter every couple weeks. All nonsense.

    Idiots like these would have us unilaterally disarm and hope the Russians and Chinese do a 180 in life. Hope is not a strategy. Go away.

    • Shultz!

      Amen! Ken Jones and his self-aggrandizing buds strike again. MountainX, these guys are getting worse than the barefoot-rights weirdos you published opinions from umpteen times! Enough already.

  5. WNC

    You’re right in the fact jet fuel is one of the largest contributors of pollution. Yet liberal “environmentally concerned” persons fly private jets to their many homes, 9 months of vacations and occasional green rallies. They tell the rest of civilization how we must change our evil ways
    Of staying warm, eating and having reliable transportation.
    These same folks are leaders of the DNC and media public real actions .
    On a separate note electric vehicle’s when all things in products, maintenance, and powering are considered range from from slightly better to slightly worse than a economical gas burner. This doesn’t include grid system inefficiency and the cost of towing them from one site to the next on trips of length.

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