This is what Alan Levin had to say reacting to Kinder Morgan’s comment that the DE Legislature’s insisting on doing their job might kill the deal to privatize the Port of Wilmington. The NJ’s front page story on this today accounts for Kinder Morgan’s new found nervousness over this deal, telling an analysts’ conference call that the GA may have scuttled whatever deal is in being secretly negotiated:
“We were very disappointed in the decision by the Legislature this past week, which we think may end up killing the deal,” John Schlosser, president-elect of Kinder Morgan terminals, said during a conference call with analysts Wednesday. Schlosser said that Kinder Morgan is exploring roles in six such port facility spinoffs after he was asked about the Wilmington deal.
Kinder Chief Executive Officer Rich Kinder added: “We were disappointed in the legislation, which seemed to be more intent on protecting union jobs than it is in the economic well-being of the port. But that’s their decision.”
Senator Bobby Marshall responds:
Sen. Robert I. Marshall, D-Wilmington, said later that Kinder Morgan’s comment “clearly indicates that they don’t like anyone, elected or otherwise, having any review.” Marshall said that legislators have an obligation to examine and protect the state’s interests.
“Corporations on Wall Street don’t want any transparency by the public and by a publicly elected entity like the state Legislature,” said Marshall, who described Kinder Morgan as having “a very aggressive approach to their end goal of maximizing profit. “When you privatize, it is usually at the expense of workers, their pensions and their middle-class lifestyle,” Marshall said. “So the review of the Bond Bill Committee is a significant responsibility.”
Right. And maybe the State of Delaware should not be doing business with folks who can’t manage the light of the Democratic process. The real pity here is that there are alot of people (myself included) who aren’t especially opposed to privatizing the port — we just don’t know enough about it to be able to make our own decisions as to this effort’s usefulness. And we are all reminding the Markell Administration that we do get to make up our own minds on what to support and on what to advocate for with out legislators. The legislature should be weighing in on any deal that disposes of or privatizes a major state asset. *That* is the deal that Markell has to live with, for better or worse.
One of my original questions was how Kinder Morgan was going to be able to make money while making a fairly large capital investment when the State could not. I think that the Kinder Morgan executive’s snide comment re: protecting union jobs seems to point in the direction of the answer to that question. The state’s interests certainly include stabilizing the port AND in making it competitive for the long term. But that also needs to be balanced by the interests of people working at the port, and specifically degrading a bunch of jobs so that Kinder Morgan can make money doesn’t look like balance (or delivering on Markell’s often repeated committment to middle class jobs) from here.
Governor Markell and Mr. Levin should tell Kinder Morgan that it is the secrecy that is the problem and they shouldn’t have tried to do this behind the backs of the Legislature or the people who own that port.