Letter to Bloomsburg University President Soltz: A Contract with Stantec is a Contract with Genocidal Profiteering

In my email this morning:

“What does the future look like at Bloomsburg University? Share your thoughts at the Master Plan Open Forum TODAY Friday, Nov. 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. in Hartline Science Center, room 108.
What’s a campus facilities master plan? A campus facilities master plan is a vision for the future development of a campus. It ensures that the physical environment, both built and natural, serves the needs of the university community, enables the institution to realize its goals, provides an effective place to work and study, and welcomes our neighbors and partners. Why do we need a campus facilities master plan? A campus facilities master plan allows the university to plan its growth so physical improvements support the strategic vision. Each element of the campus – academic and administrative spaces, student life, student housing, athletics, open space, infrastructure and land use – will be examined.Who’s involved in a campus facilities master plan? You! Ideas and opinions from faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members pinpoint the best things about campus and where improvements are needed. Information is being gathered through focus groups, one-on-one interviews, open forums and media. When are we creating the campus facilities master plan? The university, along with Stantec, a professional design firm, recently launched the planning process. It will continue through four phases, ending in fall 2013. Where can I find more information about the campus facilities master plan and how to get involved? You can learn more about the plan and share your opinions at the Master Plan Open Forum meeting Friday, Nov. 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. in Hartline Science Center, room 108. You can also check out Bloomsburg Campus Plan 2013 on Facebook, follow #BUCampusPlan on Twitter and send comments to Mary Prout in facilities management, mprou3@bloomu.edu.”

Stantec Logo Stantec is an enormous global design firm nominally located in Philadelphia.  Among their major projects are their involvement in one of the most environmentally destructive form of shale gas production: Oil sands. They are also a midstream provider for the natural gas industry–including the construction of pipeline infrastructure for natural gas derived from fracking and destined for the global market: “Stantec has extensive experience with gathering lines that move raw oil and gas to the processing plants and transmission facilities, as well as gas transmission systems that carry natural gas at high pressure from producing areas to consuming areas.”  While a small portion of the company’s revenues go to the support of renewables (as is a common mostly window-dressing strategy for the big energy corporations), the majority of their revenue generation is connected to the design of infrastructure for the major polluters–and then the “landscaping” to provide cosmetic cover for the damage.

Stantec provides engineering for both land-based and offshore oil and gas projects, including systems for petroleum refineries, distribution terminals, bulk storage plants, and related retail facilities. Clients rely on our ability to design systems to handle virtually all hydrocarbon components and chemicals associated with refinery operations. This experience encompasses design for high temperature, high pressure applications associated with fractionation, and distillation units, reactor and reforming units, heat exchanger systems, and pressure relieving systems, as well as electrical and instrumentation control for operations and emergency shutdown.”

Stantec is, ironically like Aqua America, involved both in clean water distribution AND in projects that are significant sources of water pollution–including pollution via carcinogens. Stantec is also involved in the exploitation of first nation peoples via mining projects on indigenous land holdings–promising jobs which will ultimately leave in its wake the same kind of environmental disaster we are only beginning to comprehend in Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, etc, from fracking. It is particularly troubling that Stantec is involved in mining extraction near Thor Lake, in the Canadian Northwest territories–and among the very last of the truly pristine lakes on earth.

Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, Canada.Stantec is also connected to Avalon Industries, a rare earth elements extraction concern whose primary business partners are the Chinese who control 97% of the world’s rare earth element markets. To be clear, my point is not to aim criticism particularly at the Chinese, but to make very clear that such mining projects are NOT conducted in the interest of either American or Canadian interests. Extraction ventures whose destinations are the global markets arguably weaken national security for Americans and Canadians because they contribute to the energy production of other nation’s economic drivers and militaries.

Links associated with this post:

China’s Rare Earth Elements Industry:  What Can the West Learn?

Processing plant to cost $302 million- 1/3 of Avalon’s rare earth project capex

Avalon may build $302m rare earths plant in southern US

Just as I would strongly encourage president Soltz to decline any overture made by representatives of the Hydraulic Fracturing industry for the construction of any aspect of the fracking process on Bloomsburg University lands via Senate Bill 367, I implore my administration to reconsider any contract with a corporation whose generation of profits requires the destruction of the conditions of life and the exploitation of native peoples.

That is Stantec.

Det’on Cho Stantec Celebrates It’s Beginning.

Avalon Rare Metals Inc.: Conceptual Aquatics Effects Monitoring Plan.

The Industrialization of PASSHE: Where the Public Good, its Students, and its Faculty are Auctioned Off to the Extraction Profiteers (Or: Extortion by Extraction)

We can do better than this. And if you have any doubt that Stantec Design Philadelphia is the Stantec I am referring to here–just check out the logos:



Wendy Lynne Lee, Professor
Department of Philosophy
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Bloomsburg, PA, USA 17815

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