We, as a community, have welcomed the petrochemical industry to our community. In January, I participated in a video for the Martin Luther King Jr. brunch, where several of us acknowledged the importance of having the petrochemical industry within our community for so many years, and applauded its contributions given to us. The existence of the petrochemical industry has afforded many families to have comfortable lifestyles, and thousands of us have had parents who were employed by the industry which helped to finance our education. For the most part, we have determined that the benefits of the jobs that this industry provides has outweighed the dangers to our health and environment.
One of our neighbors, Motiva Enterprises owned by Saudi Aramco Oil, has made several recent public announcements. On January 22, Motiva donated $650,000 to the Port Arthur ISD to assist with Hurricane Harvey destruction. We thank them and appreciate the contribution. On April 3rd, the local news announced that Motiva was in negotiation to purchase two buildings in downtown Port Arthur. I applaud them for the investment in our community.
Just prior to the news report, on April 2nd, the Beaumont Enterprise published an article entitled, “Rare glimpse into Saudi Aramco shows $111 billion new net profit for 2018.” The article stated this new profit places Aramco ahead of some of the world’s most profitable firms. Moody’s said the oil giant’s revenue hit $355.9 billion last year and that it produced 10.3 million barrels per day of crude oil in 2018. Motiva has made great financial accomplishments and set an aggressive visionary plan for the company’s continued growth and success.
However, I feel that Motiva has breached the social contract that companies like Motiva made with this community so long ago. My job as Superintendent of PAISD is to set an aggressive visionary plan for the District, its employees, patrons and not least of all, its over 8,000 students. I have sat and talked with some of the leaders of our community who remember how the chemical industry felt that it was their responsibility to make sure the public-school system had everything it needed to ensure success for its students. Before the record profits seen by Motiva/Saudi Aramco, money was not an object to the petrochemical industry in our community. Today, I do not feel the major companies in our community feel the same as their previous leaders and CEOs.
To read the full letter, please read the article on the Port Arthur News. (link below)