Let’s stop beating the goose that lays golden eggs. Whether it was a flood-induced accident or a worn out pipe, ExxonMobil will rectify the Silvertip pipeline break and clean up the oil spill. Let’s try looking at the bright side of having ExxonMobil in the Yellowstone Valley, where the company has been contributing to the economy since 1949.
ExxonMobil employs 250 residents of Yellowstone County plus at least 100 contractors. Approximately 225 retirees spend their annuity checks in Billings or surrounding communities. The company’s employees tally 6,000 hours annually to charitable endeavors and earn more than $90,000 in grants for Billings and the surrounding communities through a Volunteer Involvement Program (corporate match of personal contributions.)
The same system allows employees, retirees and family members to contribute to universities, colleges and schools with ExxonMobil matching funds equaling $200,000 annually. Other sponsorships, contributions and outreach efforts add another $300,000 annually. In addition, employees and the ExxonMobil Foundation contribute nearly $88,000 to the United Way of Yellowstone County.
The company also carries its share of the tax burden. As one of the largest taxpayers in Yellowstone County, its property taxes alone are more than $5 million. State and capital franchise taxes total more than $3.6 million.
No one likes having oil in his backyard, but then again, who is ready to trade his vehicle for a bicycle? I believe ExxonMobil has acted responsibly for more than a half century and is continuing to do so. Give the company time and, meanwhile, enjoy the benefits of its corporate taxes, community service and Foundation funds.