Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002031
Received: 11/14/2013 12:40:12 PM
Commenter: Ann Rivers
Organization: WA State Senate
Agency: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
In my public duties as a state legislator, I have made no secret of my concerns over the burdensome regulations of our state. The consequences of excessive regulations on our state’s business climate is what concerns me.
I am a supporter of business friendly public policy, because encouraging business investment is the most effective approach to delivering the job creation and economic development that are critically needed in many parts of Southwestern Washington.
I am opposed to the prospect of conducting a global review for the proposed Millennium bulk commodity export facilities. Washington's existing and extensive environmental regulations are more than adequate to ensure that the Millennium project will be no detriment to our local or global environment. Adding the requirement for a global environmental assessment would be a politically motivated change, which would have detrimental effects on our economy.
In the interests of the people of Washington, I would ask you to review the Millennium terminals on an individual basis. Burdening the Millennium project with unnecessary regulations could undermine a major investment in Washington's export infrastructure, financed completely with private sector dollars. This project would not only be a major investment in Washington's future, it would create jobs now, providing welcome relief for some of the unemployment and under-employment that has plagued many counties since the most recent recession.
The economic benefits begin with the 3,000 direct jobs that would be created at the Millennium facilities. These would be career jobs with wages and benefits consistent with supporting a family. Statewide, the business growth generated by these facilities would create a total of 12,000 jobs, putting an additional $800 million a year into family budgets. And the reality is that if shipping doesn't occur at the Millennium facility, it will ship out of Vancouver, BC. We will incur the environmental impact, but will lose the economic boon.
As you know, Washington's standard environmental review requirements for projects of this type will require substantial demonstration by the applicants of the environmental integrity of the project at each step along the way, and I understand the need for environmental safeguards on a project of this magnitude. However, nothing would be gained, and much would be lost by escalating this state issue into a global issue and killing this valuable project in the name of politics.
The Department of Ecology does not exist to facilitate political statements at the expense of everyday citizens. Certainly we have learned by now that environmental protection and economic growth can coexist peacefully and productively in the State of Washington.