In today’s Open Thread, SussexWatcher points us to the news. Both the NJ and WDEL have reports up providing a summary of what was in the Kinder Morgan letter and some local reaction. EDIT — WDDE has put up their report with some additional detail on why KM walked away. It looks like the deal is off of the table, although the NJ discussion with KM seems to leave a slim bit of wiggle room for everybody.
Kinder Morgan blames this failure on one of the union leaders at the Port, and it looks like they are pointing the finger at Julius Cephas, who is ILA 1694-1 President. While there isn’t much known about the details here, it seems odd to me that they would blame Cephas, who wasn’t a party to the contract negotiations. Especially since there wasn’t a contract ready to present to the Board next week. And that there were lots of others with serious issues with this deal who own and operate perfectly good businesses just outside of the fence. Still — I’m betting that there is more to this story.
EDIT: from the WDDE report:
Schlosser [KM President - ed.], in his letter, said Cephas’ declared intention not to meet with Kinder Morgan again until the General Assembly approved a lease deal, combined with some legislators’ position that they would not approve a lease deal unless a new union deal is in place puts the company in “an impossible position.”
“Simply put, we have choices in terms of where we will invest substantial resources and the current union leadership at your facility does not make Delaware a good choice at this time,” Schlosser wrote Port Chairman Alan Levin in his letter. Levin is also Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.
In any event, it gives all of these parties a chance to rethink what needs to happen at this port. Shame though, that Jack Markell is persisting in this bit of delusion:
In a statement, provided to WDEL, Governor Markell calls the failed deal “unfortunate,” adding that the Port of Wilmington won’t be able to capitalize on an opportunity for increased jobs and a capital investment beyond what the state can afford.
We aren’t supposed to remember that KM investment wasn’t going to be especially big at this Port — certainly not at the level that would build out onto the Delaware. It is time, though, for much better strategic planning for this State asset and working at making the kinds of investments that maybe the State can afford. Perhaps the State could start by not giving up revenue to casinos.
Post whatever you are hearing on how this deal fell apart.
Tags: Kinder Morgan