Kinder Morgan Doesn’t Like to be Bashed

Filed in National by on January 31, 2013

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.

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  1. jason330 says:

    Marshall is right. If the deal can’t withstand this light wisp of scrutiny, it is a deal that needs to be scuttled.

  2. Norinda says:

    Delawareans, let us remind ourselves what actually “is” Privatization:

    “schemes to outsource traditional governmental functions, taxpayer dollars are diverted from the building of public assets and institutions to create long-term revenue streams for profit resulting in the loss of public sector jobs that have been crucial to the growth of the middle class, and instead has created a system that favors lower wage jobs and new profit centers for CEOs and investors.”
      The port is a state asset (Not for Profit) that is subsidized by the taxpayer!

    Kinder Morgan is a big energy company that main service line is transporting fossil fuels liquefied natural gas and coal.  Their CEO, former Enron Executive, is one of the richest CEOs in the world but plagued with EPA violations that will harm our communities, wildlife, our sacred ground water and land forever!  We must step back from the “right wing rhetoric” and ask ourselves, what do we want for our world to look like for our children and future generations?  A massive oil spill, contamination of our ground water from natural gas fraking and poor air quality will cost zillions to fix-if even so!

       As for transparency,  “the game is rigged and the dice are loaded”. Why do we want to do business with a company that does not appreciate public transparency and legislative oversight. 
        In Baltimore, the public-private partnership was set-up differently:

        1st,   the company who operates the Baltimore Port had a 20-year     
                  relationship doing business at the port.  
        2nd,  $18 million in port profits goes back into a local fund to be used for 
                  fund local infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, airports and    
                   tunnels.  

    I would suggest a non-conflict of interest Port Expansion Expert Task force whose  mission  is to increase capital to make necessary improvements to the port but improving the economic health sustainability of our LOCAL economy.  Obviously, this would not include any members of the Diamond State Port Board because most of them have been appointed by the Governor Markell.

    The Fight Continues!   Save our Planet w/Green and Renewable Energy Projects is the way of the future not energy oil giant Kinder Morgan!

  3. cassandra_m says:

    But here’s the thing about that — none of us (including you, Noringa) know enough about this deal to characterize it as anything but a Giant Black Hole. It would be why most of us supported the legislature getting a good look at it, because they weren’t going to include the public.

    One thing I do hope though — that the unions involved are doing a better job in persuading the legislators they routinely support than they are the public. Because there has been little public outreach here.

  4. SANDFLY says:

    Only the Building Trades are in on this deal after trying to cut the thoats of the ILA @ Legislative Hall. They are trying to through the Longshoremen under the bus for selfish ends. A charge should be filed on them with the AFL/CIO. Happy Harry is trying to pull a fast one on the dam state. No environmental impact study, or audit of Port finances has ever come to light. New Castle County has the worst air quality in the nation and we can not afford to have coal dust or ash coming into Wilmington let alone LNG tankers.
    Happy Harry is out to lunch on this deal.

  5. IrishPol says:

    Happy Harry is dead and the kid sold the legacy and screwed the workers. Building Trades = White ILA = Black tell me the surprise?

  6. kavips says:

    So basically you are saying we were entering a marriage, and when we pulled out a pre-nupt agreement, the groom got cold feet? ‘Nuff said.

  7. Roland D. Lebay says:

    Only the Building Trades are in on this deal after trying to cut the throats of the ILA @ Legislative Hall.

    How ’bout that union SOLIDARITY, brother?

  8. geezer says:

    “Their CEO… [is] plagued with EPA violations that will harm our communities, wildlife, our sacred ground water and land forever!”

    That’s KM’s pipeline business. It has nothing to do with operating port facilities.

    If you want to oppose the deal, fine. But once you go beyond the facts to make your case you weaken your argument instead of strengthening it.

    There are many legitimate reasons to oppose the deal. KM’s leaky pipelines are not one of them.

  9. SussexAnon says:

    “…which seemed to be more intent on protecting union jobs.”

    Kinda makes you wonder what Levin/Markell were agreeing to with Kinder Morgan, doesn’t it?

  10. SussexWatcher says:

    Geezer’s right. Hitler made the trains run on time, after all, so there’s no need to look at other parts of ReichCo’s track record.

  11. geezer says:

    SW: Kinda fast to the Godwin stage, aren’t you?

    If Hitler failed to make the trains run on time, would that have any bearing on his actual record as a dictator?

    Explain, if you would be so kind, what the environmental record of a pipeline company — and if you know of one with a good environmental record I’d love to see a link, because I couldn’t find one — has to do with its plans to move into port ownership, or to the likelihood of busting unions at the Port of Wilmington?

    Then again, maybe you’re just the sort of moron who likes dragging in easily-batted-away criticisms because you lack the critical thinking skills to hone an argument. After all, we have the Hitler reference as evidence of that.

  12. SussexWatcher says:

    I figured we oughta cut the crap and get right to the point. It’s fascinating how your criticism skills are so selective. Some people and entities you unload all the way on, others you don’t.

    Looking at a company’s whole record is of course essential to determining that company’s fitness to do anything. It’s a judgment and management and corporate character issue. Under your line of thinking, a politician’s personal life has no bearing on his/her campaign, so we should have overlooked the charges against Bodie. No relevance, after all.

  13. geezer says:

    No, under my line of thinking you don’t equate a corporation with a person. Or are you of the belief that corporations are people after all? And now you’re comparing a corporation — which operates under a charter that specifically states it is to maximize profit for its owners — to the morality of politicians.

    Corporations are not people. They have no morality. They are amoral.

    “Looking at a company’s whole record is of course essential to determining that company’s fitness to do anything.”

    “Of course” my ass. DuPont was for years environmentally irresponsible but took paternal care of its employees. Got any other stupid theories you want debunked?

    My line of thinking also hews to the notion that there is no such thing as an environmentally clean pipeline company. Pipes carrying petroleum leak. If you can demonstrate that KM’s record is substantially out of line with other such companies, you might have a point. But you’ve done no such research. I tried — not all that hard because I’m on vacation — but I couldn’t find anything either way.

    My critical skills work just fine, and last time I checked I didn’t owe you an explanation about what I choose to focus them on.

  14. kavips says:

    The research is out there; it has been compiled and the track record shows that they appear to be a responsible company based on how they compare with all others. As a responsible company, that means they will fulfill out all their agreements.

    But they are energy. Energy is dirty. So the real question is do we want them? Sometime over the next 50 years the long odds are we will have some type of disaster involving oil, natural gas, or coal if we allow them to take over our port. Just look at BP who was considered very environmentally friendly up until one explosion.

    We now have the Delaware Refinery. How is that going? Well that is what we will get with Kinder Morgan, not because they are horrible sinful people, but,… because if you roll 6 separate dice long enough you will get 6 sixes…..

    Are we more comfortable with having banana’s, oranges, lemons and grapes, and spreading the dollar shortfall over all of Delaware’s tax base?

    At this point, I’d say we probably are.

  15. geezer says:

    “The research is out there; it has been compiled and the track record shows that they appear to be a responsible company based on how they compare with all others.”

    Link?

    Their pipeline business has no known link to their movement into port operations, so the rest of your comment is unsupported by anything beyond paranoia. Did KM say anything to investors about wanting to move LNG through the ports it invests in?

    The best argument against this giveaway is the effect it will have on union workers. Until progressives realize that about 90% of the population doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the environment, they apparently intend to keep on pissing up this drainpipe. It will not sway anyone who is in favor of the deal, and it will make those who oppose it look like out-of-touch treehuggers.

    I actually am a tree-hugger, and I see no reason to oppose this deal on this basis.

  16. The People's Port says:

    This is what we have to look for:

    Biodiesel leaked from Carteret, NJ terminal: Kinder Morgan

    By Reuters Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – About 238 barrels (some 10,000 gallons) of biodiesel leaked from Kinder Morgan Energy Partners’ Carteret, New Jersey terminal after storm Sandy devastated the U.S. East Coast, the company said on Tuesday.

    The fuel spilled into nearby Rum Creek and reached the Arthur Kill waterway, which separates Staten Island in New York City from New Jersey.

    The spill “was contained within a day of the storm passing and recovery efforts have been completed”, Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Emily Mir said in an email.
    Not picked up by The News Journal

    Click Here: http://www.chem.info/News/2012/11/Biodiesel-leaked-from-Carteret,-NJ-terminal–Kinder-Morgan/

  17. cassandra_m says:

    Note to The People’s Port — the rules here are that you post under one name. So pick one — Noringa or People’s Port — and stick with it.

  18. geezer says:

    In other words, we can look forward to KM cleaning up after one day a fuel spill caused by a significant natural disaster.

    Is that supposed to make me for or against the deal? Because it speaks well, not ill, of how KM responded.

    Moron.

  19. kavips says:

    Geezer.

    Progressives don’t care about misuse of the environment because it’s popular. They couldn’t really care how many people care about the environment. They care about the misuse of the environment because it is wrong.

    Links included in this link.

    From the date it looks like you are almost on vacation.

  20. geezer says:

    kavips: I don’t care why they care about the environment. The point is that Kinder Morgan’s environmental record in owning pipelines has nothing to do with why they should be opposed in taking over the Port of Wilmington.

    You and Norinda and a few others I could name seem to think that the more you throw against the Kinder Morgan wall, the more likely something is to stick. I believe the opposite is true — the more bullshit arguments you make, the more your opponents can say, “Ignore these knee-jerk anti-capitalists.”

    Anyone who cares about the environment is likely to be liberal already, and therefore doesn’t need an extra, bullshit reason to be against the deal. All it does is give the pro-privatization forces a chance to say you’re not living in the real world, because there’s no connection between the company’s pipelines and what it wants to do in Wilmington.

    What part of this don’t you understand?

    PS: I could not open the link.

  21. kavips says:

    I think you misunderstand both Norinda and the few others you can name. They are responding to a wall of silence. Suddenly out of nowhere, Boom, “hey everyone here’s your new mom”, to use an analogy previously used on this topic. Well, some people would like to find out a little about her. In response to “who is she”… silence. Finally it got leaked. In response to what about the jobs? .. silence. Finally Alan called up Rick Jensen. In response to how much investment? Silence…. yesterday we heard $200 million.

    As you well know, in politics, where you find silence… it is rare something really good comes out of it. Those “others you can name” are doing a great service in getting these anecdotes out there… They need to be commended, not ridiculed. For they are doing what neither of the two news radio stations, nor the News Journal (until it fell in their lap yesterday), could do…. Provide facts so people can make informed decisions.

    Do pipeline accidents have anything at all to do with running a port? Absolutely not. Just like evidence of what Highmark is doing elsewhere has no import on how this state’s current insurance department will act over this next four years…. Absolutely nothing. No correlation whatsoever.

    Are any of these anecdotes the end of the deal for Delaware? The General Assembly shall decided. At least, they will have some grasp of what they are getting into when they get introduced to their new mom, and not just look at each other, shrug their shoulders, and say, “ok”.

    The missing link btw. http://kavips.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/do-we-want-kinder-morgan-running-wilmingtons-port/

  22. geezer says:

    “Just like evidence of what Highmark is doing elsewhere has no import on how this state’s current insurance department will act over this next four years…. Absolutely nothing. No correlation whatsoever.”

    Bullshit and you should know it. Then again, I’ve read you for quite some time, and there’s no evidence you know much of anything about anything.

    Highmark needed the cash reserves of Delaware BC/BS. Kinder Morgan does not get any money out of this deal. Try again. Or better yet, stop trying. You’ve never succeeded yet.

    And you still haven’t given me a link to anything but your worthless blog.

  23. cassandra_m says:

    In other words, we can look forward to KM cleaning up after one day a fuel spill caused by a significant natural disaster.

    There are two difficulties with this:
    1. It isn’t clear (if you click through to the Reuters article) whether KM or the US Coast Guard cleaned up the spill. It does seem that the Coast Guard did remove fouled fuel from the site AND they were rebuilding the containment around the tanks. So who pays for that? Very likely taxpayers (although that isn’t clear, either). The thing that I wish more people worried about is the habit that companies like KM have in relying upon taxpayers to assume the risk of making good on their environmental mishaps. If you are conducting a business that is fundamentally a dirty one, then you need to assume ALL of the cleanup and restoration costs — not ask taxpayers to subsidize you one more time.

    2. Who verifies that this cleanup is done and done well? The state or the Feds certainly should, but those resources are stretched thin AND they are being cut specifically to reduce this kind of oversight. So KM can say pretty much anything they want knowing that the people who are supposed to verify this very likely won’t.

    Which doesn’t have much to do with the Port of Wilmington, except that we should be pretty damn clear about who pays for any needed environmental cleanup here.

  24. The risk of Kinder Morgan’s potential energy cargo is key to what the details of the contract will reveal….had ought to reveal.

    Like the Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act that sticks the tax payer with most of the liability for nuclear power plant disasters, what kind of insurance will Kinder Morgan be expected to hold to cover for all contingencies.

    If they go into the Port of Wilmington PPP as an LLC, then we in Delaware will surely pay and pay and pay if something dreadful should happen. LLC is essentially a free pass against liability. Adequate risk insurance as well as an assurance to preserve the quality and number of existing decent-paying jobs should be a part of the bargain. Certainly Markell and Levin have been shoveling tens of millions at corporations in the interest of keeping decent jobs already here and adding hundreds more. The port now sustains thousands.

    And I will add that Kavips’ blog rocks the shit despite Geezer’s lame attacks to the contrary.

  25. kavips says:

    Geezer. Thank your for the compliments.. It has taken a lifetime to understand that true wisdom is the ability to reach the consciousness of not knowing anything about anything. (Now if I can just stop talking like Yoda) It is the only way one can see things from a fresh perspective, and understand things how they really are, and avoid the emperor-has-clothes syndrome. Compliments back at you too btw, for you seem to be reaching the same perspective.

    I understand you are a busy man who doesn’t have time to read worthless blogs, but if you had, you would have seen the EPA link that charged Kinder-Morgan with getting rid of a waste product by slipping it into their gas they were carrying so instead of paying for its disposal, it would get burnt off in millions of car’s exhausts… They would have gotten away with it too, except the waste product they put, clogged up cars engines making them useless, and the paper trail back up began….

    As you said, it is a pipeline thing, and has no relevance to the morals and business ethics at the top of Kinder Morgan. It doesn’t show us how they think or feel.

  26. geezer says:

    Sounds sleazy, all right. So could you just put the link here so I don’t have to search for it? We’re all busy, not just me.

    OK, they’re reprobates even among corporations. Does that mean you’d be open to a Baltimore-type deal, with a better partner, even if it meant cutting wages at the terminal?

    If what you’re saying is that a privatization deal would be just fine with a good partner, please say so.

    My argument is: Let’s keep our eyes on the ball. The only way to monetize the port for a private operator is to cut costs, and the only way to cut costs while spending on infrastructure is to cut labor. It’s that simple.

    They are trying to scare people with the line that “if we can’t pay for it and can’t get private investment, all the jobs will be lost.” It’s bogus. While that statement is true, those aren’t the only options. The state could issue bonds for the needed capital improvements, and hire out for a firm that would operate the port, but split the profits with the state.

    So are you for privatization or continued public ownership of what is currently in public possession?

  27. geezer says:

    Nancy: Why would their LLC be any worse than the hundreds of thousands of others issued by the state of Delaware?

    The risk of Kinder Morgan’s potential energy cargo is key to what the details of the contract will reveal….had ought to reveal. I agree the administration cannot be taken at its word that this would not go through the port. But that must be stated as a concern regardless of the record of this particular company.

    The deal has been cloaked in secrecy from the start. We don’t know who else might have bid in an open process. And any decision about the port should be made after assessing its future in a competitive East Coast market.

  28. An LLC by definition is Limited Liability.

    I am not comparing between LLCs that may exist in DE. (You will recall Bass LLC – the Capano firm calling BROKE TOO BAD that we had to pay for their screwing up Lea Eara Farms’ waste water treatment site)

    I am pointing out that if KM is setting up as an LLC for this PPP, we will be fucked if there are not clear terms for risk insurance liability in the deal. All is speculative until the deal is revealed.

    The deal has to clearly articulate that KM will carry the necessary risk insurance.

    They have stated in the news paper that they won’t be doing x (LNG cargo) and have not denied that they may be doing y (coal cargo) at some point in the future – perhaps extremely incompatible with the existing perishable goods clients.

    I disagree that Delaware should not consider their considerable bad track record for safety, bribery, illegal activities, unfair practices, flagrant deliberate pollution etc. There were, after all, other bids presented.

    The DSPC chose an energy cargo – pipeline-related firm based in Canada to consult with for the vetting of the bids.

    That may have been a set up by DSPC to produce a selected bid to achieve the energy cargo for products out of Pennsylvania that have nothing to do with the larger container ships coming up from the Panama canal from China.

  29. geezer says:

    “I am pointing out that if KM is setting up as an LLC for this PPP, we will be fucked if there are not clear terms for risk insurance liability in the deal. All is speculative until the deal is revealed.”

    Gotcha. I missed your point before.

  30. Norinda says:

    Oil Tanker Spill

         Kinder Morgan, will try to calm fears about this deal by claiming that the risks of a spill are low and that there are funds in place to pay the spill response costs. Neither statement is entirely true.
    The risk of a catastrophic oil spill will more then quadruple with the increased numbers of LNG tankers on the Delaware Bay.  The  funds that are designed to pay for oil spills at sea will probably not be enough, leaving taxpayers on the hook.     Insurance could be capped at $1.5 billion.
    In most cases the $1.5 billion will be a hard cap on the insurance available to answer a spill. If spill re- costs and damages exceed that amount, taxpayers and those suffering the damage may have to bear the additional costs.
    If the company is a LLC, we’re really screwed!

    http://www.livingoceans.org/sites/default/files/media/uploads/kindermorgan2013-english.pdf