Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002035
Received: 11/14/2013 2:07:17 PM
Commenter: Art Swannack
Organization: Whitman County Commissioner
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
Dear Department of Ecology and affected agencies,
I am writing in regards to my support for the proposed Millennium bulk commodity export facilities. I understand and accept the importance of protecting the environment but that does not eliminate my concerns about the detrimental consequences of the Environmental Impact Statements and its effect on our economy. Our economy is barely in recovery and we cannot afford, nationally and locally, to deny jobs. The economic benefits of the Millennium bulk commodity export facility will lower the unemployment rate and benefit bulk commodity exports like agriculture and timber, while providing an economic boost in our region.
As a Whitman County Commissioner, I support this effort because it is clearly in the public’s interest. I am confident that there will be a direct benefit from the proposed Millennium bulk commodity export facilities. It will create 12,000 jobs, $800 million in wages, and over $140 million in tax revenue from the combined proposals. By securing new investments, our county and state will ensure long-term growth for trade and exports. In addition to the direct benefit for family jobs, Millennium will create an apprentice program. This will provide training for the next generation of labor workers, investing the long-term success of trade jobs in the Northwest region.
I am highly opposed to the global review that has been proposed for similar projects. It is simply excess bureaucracy. Washington is jeopardizing its primary economic activity – trade. To protect our economy and our people it is essential to adopt an individual review for the Millennium terminal that will be project specific. Washington State is trying to decrease the regulatory burden on its citizens via Lean Management and other Governor Inslee directed efforts at making government more efficient.. The global review would hamstring our state and make our trade industry less competitive for future generations.
As a Commissioner, I strive to create a higher standard of living and provide long-term security for the families of Whitman County. The investments gained from the Millennium terminal will create growth in our region, providing export opportunities. Investments in the terminals will benefit agriculture, timber and other markets for Washington industries. According to Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus of West Virginia University, agriculture and the commodity industry are at the peak of their current price cycle. This means we need every opportunity and tool in our toolbox to make sure our crops are competitive on the world stage and our farmers and ranchers receive the best price possible for their carefully raised crops. Fast, modern bulk loading is required to keep us competitive. It lowers loading, demurrage and shipping costs and sends our products on the world stage at a competitive price. Slow loading means higher costs and decreased price competitiveness resulting in less sales and a lower standard of living for my citizens.
This project has been stalled for over a year and half. It is essential to gather support, already costing the region lost opportunity for growth and job creation. I strongly urge you to support investment in the future of our trade industry by moving the Millennium project forward without further delay. Together, we will be able to move Washington’s economic growth forward.
Art Swannack, Whitman County Commissioner