Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002465
Received: 11/18/2013 5:09:00 PM
Commenter: John Braun
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
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2013 5:09 PM
Subject: Cowlitz County EIS comment It is my privilege to represent the people of the 20th District in the State Senate, where I have the
further privilege of serving as chairman of the Trade and Economic Development Committee. In
private life, I am president of Braun Northwest, a family-owned business that has been building
emergency vehicles in Southwest Washington since 1986.
I have learned first-hand that economic growth and environmental preservation are not mutually
exclusive in Washington. Both are essential, and that's why I support the proposed Millennium
bulk commodity export facilities and urge your department to conduct an individualized review
of the proposed terminal.
Our district includes sites for some of the Millennium bulk commodity export facilities now
under review by the Department of Ecology. The "scoping" process and subsequent public
hearings have generated passions and implied a false choice between economic progress and
environmental protection. But the Millennium project involves no such choice.
The economic benefits of the Millennium facilities to Washington and specifically to our corner
of the state are substantial and needed. One of the facilities would be built in Cowlitz County
which has endured economic hard times. Over the course of the Great Recession, Cowlitz
County lost 9 percent of its non-farm employment and the unemployment rate peaked at 14
percent. According to the Washington State Department of Economic Security, no other county
in the country absorbed that level of impact.
Unemployment in Cowlitz only recently dipped below double-digits and remains well above the
state and national averages. Construction and subsequent operation of the Millennium facilities
will bring badly needed jobs to Cowlitz and neighboring counties. These will be good, family
wage jobs to help rebuild our region.
None of this economic progress needs to come at the expense of the environment. The State of
Washington is known nationwide for having some of the strictest environmental regulations. Our
existing environmental regulations are adequate to assure that the Millennium project does not
create any environmental hazards.
It would be a serious mistake to discriminate against this project by requiring a global
environmental impact assessment. This would be a case of allowing ideology and politics to
replace economic growth and our current environmental protection policies. Washington State's
economy can benefit significantly from our state meeting the growing demand for energy around
Denying this opportunity to the State of Washington would be a disservice to the public. It would
unnecessarily foreclose on opportunities for new jobs and tax revenue. By creating an
insurmountable regulatory barrier to block the Millennium facilities, we would send a chilling
message to the private sector that Washington State is not business friendly. We do not need and
cannot afford to create a reputation as a state where regulatory requirements have reached
unreasonable levels in response to the heat created by a narrowly focused political agenda.
Please do not allow this state level environmental issue to be dragged into the arena of global
environmental debate. We have stringent environmental regulations already in place, and we
need to abide by those regulations to provide a consistent atmosphere for businesses to grow and
thrive. It is time we help our state get back to work, by authorizing industry development.
My family and I live in Lewis County, and I feel strongly about the need to preserve
Washington's environment while encouraging its economic growth. Both those needs can be
served by allowing the Millennium facilities project to go forward with appropriate vigilance but
not opposition from the Department of Ecology.
Sincerely, Senator John Braun