ANJE Response to Cowlitz County Shoreline Permits Ruling on MBT

Hearing examiner’s decision failed to consider the countless testimonies in favor of the project, its overall impact to the community as required by statute

SEATTLE — The Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports released the following statement today after the Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner’s denial of the Millennium Bulk Terminals’ shortline permit.

“At every step of the way, Millennium has acted in good faith and demonstrated an ability to not only meet – but exceed – local, state and federal standards for environmental safety,” said Mariana Parks, spokeswoman for the Alliance. “When looked at closely, this decision condemns the use of trains and ships to deliver goods to an existing port on the Columbia River. This project will inject much needed revenue into the local economy, and provide hundreds of family wage jobs. It’s insulting that even after all this time, money spent, and commitment for a fair review process that decisions are now being made based on political whims rather than the rule of law.”

The labor community included some of the most vocal participants at the recent hearing on Millennium’s shoreline permit, arguing the project was more than capable of balancing economic growth and environmental protections.

“Our members have suffered for far too long in a state that clearly puts less of a premium on job growth outside of King County,” said Mike Bridges, president of the Longview/Kelso Building Trades. “Millennium has been a great partner to the community and has shown it can both provide critical jobs while protecting our air and water. It’s disturbing that the eco-politics pushed by out-of-state interests are driving decisions that affect my members’ livelihoods, and we’re standing firmly behind Millennium as it works through this unfriendly regulatory environment.”

Added Parks, “It is also very disappointing that the decision failed to consider or even mention the extensive public comments regarding the important economic benefits the project would bring to Cowlitz County and the State of Washington as a whole. The Shoreline Management Act requires the decision-maker to consider both the benefits to shoreline communities as well as likely impacts to the shoreline environment.”