Victoria County needs, can support Exxon Mobil project
By the Advocate Editorial Board
Dec. 20, 2016 at 4:36 p.m.
Updated Dec. 21, 2016 at 6 a.m.
We are our strongest champion, and never has this been more evident than with the push to have a multibillion-dollar project built in Victoria County.
In July, our community learned Exxon Mobil, in partnership with Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp., chose Victoria County as one of four possible sites for a new project.
The project would bring much-needed 600 permanent jobs, plus about 3,500 indirect and induced jobs during construction.
With Eagle Ford Shale activity at a lull, the opportunity for this project couldn't have come at a better time.
Evidence points at Portland being the leading choice for the project, however, several hundred community members in that city strongly oppose Portland being the site. Those in opposition also formed a Facebook page with hundreds of likes.
They raise concerns about the location of the projected site, which would be right outside city limits and close to Gregory-Portland High School.
We understand their concerns, and we join in Victoria County leaders' effort to prove that our proposed site is the much better option.
The proposed site would be near the south side of the Port of Victoria, far enough away from residential areas but perfect for everything the companies need to succeed and grow.
The 2,000-acre port has access to inland waterways, dual rail service and four-lane divided highways. Also, the port recently finished construction on a new dock and fleeting facilities, and it received a certification affirming it is a large enough site for significant projects.
Obviously, Exxon Mobil and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries are looking at the project from all angles, such as potential tax incentives.
We are a lucky community because our leaders are working hard every day to remind the companies that we are ready to work with them in making both their business and our county flourish.
We fully believe that as a community, our support of Exxon Mobil and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries could be just what is needed to help set us apart from Portland.
Back in 2008, it was the community's support that made us the chosen site for Exelon Nuclear. Though we were chosen, the cheap cost of natural gas put an end to that project.
As a newspaper that's chronicled the boom and bust of the oil field industry, we are fully aware how families in our communities are affected by downturns. We grew a lot during the height of the Eagle Ford Shale activity. During that boom, we were able to grow in other aspects to help soften the blow when the bust came.
During that time, we also were selected to be the site for Caterpillar, which brought hundreds of jobs to Victoria County.
We really are the Crossroads, and we are perfectly positioned to continue growing.
As the companies vet their options over the coming weeks, we encourage our leaders to continue being available to the Exxon Mobil and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries representatives.
To community members, we ask that you find ways to voice your support for the project such as by writing letters to the editor.
Together, we can help Victoria County and the Crossroads grow.
We've done it before, and we can do it again.
This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.