For almost two years, residents Tierra del Mar fought against a coastal drilling operation by Facebook ("The Facebook Coast," WW, Aug. 19, 2020). A subsidiary bought a residentially zoned plot in the unincorporated Oregon coastal town, and converted the property into an industrial staging lot in order to lay undersea fiber-optic cables connecting Japan with Facebook's server farms in Hillsboro and Prineville. Tierra del Mar residents objected to the plans every step of the way. On April 28, a drill bit broke, causing Facebook to abandon 1,110 feet of drilling pipe, the drill bit and 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid under the ocean floor. Here's what our readers had to say:
Just Doing the Math via wweek.com: "Is this a surprise that money talks and everything else walks? Mark Zuckerberg has a reputation contrary to the public image he carefully cultivates. Just ask the folks in Hawaii who dealt with him during his 700-acre, $100 million land acquisition."
Tami Hazen via Facebook.com: "[The plot's former owner Joey] Harrington threw them under the bus. He could have chosen to sell to someone else. I guess they can all join the ranks of Americans who have ended up with a fracking site in their backyard because their neighbors sold out too."
Scott McGilvery via Facebook: "There are loads of communications cables off the Oregon Coast. Just because this has Facebook attached to it doesn't make it any worse."
Casey Lawrence via Facebook: "OK, I understand the discomfort due to the drilling and construction activities, but that's temporary. What is the long-term effect? What will be on that lot after the cable is in place?"
Badgerbabs via wweek.com: "Drill steel is just exactly that: steel. Left in a hole snaking across beneath the ocean floor, it will (given enough oxygen) eventually rust, like any piece of steel would. Without knowledge of the exact 'chemicals' used in the drilling mud, the hysteria around the abandonment of these materials is highly premature."
Floyd E. Holcom via Facebook.com: "Having landed most of the fiber-optic cables in Oregon, I can tell you that there were two pre-permitted Oregon sites under the previous corridor agreements that they could have used and been better for the environment. We told them that, we argued for that, and they made the decision that ended up not working. We are still here to listen and make it work for Oregon."
Mark Murphy via Facebook: "This is what happens when you like not having any local government. I have zero sympathy for these people. Once they are done drilling and connecting the fiber optic, they'll clean up and in a few years you won't even know they were there. The people should have taken the money offered, or at least counteroffered a few grand more. Tough luck for them."
@AMP503 via Twitter: "It's quasi-libertarian at best. It does have zoning, and is governed at county, state and federal level by a government that takes their taxes but obviously doesn't care about them. Take note: City government is to protect your interests from other levels of government."
Rachel Taylor Brown via Facebook: "Life in the U.S. feels like an endless game of whack-a-mole. Nobody has our backs. It's exhausting simply to try to keep up on all the opportunism."
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