This week, Larry Brown, legislative & political director of Aerospace Machinists Union District Lodge 751 was featured on the Washington Research Council’s (WRC) weekly podcast “Policy Today” discussing a serious issue threatening Washington’s economic viability: unprecedented state environmental regulations. Notably Brown talks about the arbitrary and excessive nature of Washington’s review process which discourages investment in the state and threatens many good-paying jobs.
Brown touted the many benefits projects such as proposed coal and oil export facilities – the major targets of these subjective reviews – and noted the countless jobs at putting at risk for an agenda that will have minimal impact on the energy industry.
“We would love to see some effective public policy with respect to reducing the greenhouse gasses and reducing our carbon footprint. Unfortunately this is symbolic and is not going to stop China from burning coal. It’s merely going to prevent us from benefiting – as far as the jobs are concerned and the business is concerned – from that coal.”
The podcast also featured Emily Makings, a senior research analyst at the WRC, who highlighted a special report released last fall by WRC on this topic titled, “The Expanded SEPA Has Reduced Regulatory Certainty in Washington.” Noting how in 2013-2014 the Department of Ecology expanded the scope of the state’s environmental review on certain projects to include end-use greenhouse gas emissions of any products shipped, she stated, “the entire process is now at regulators discretion and there is no way to know what projects in the future might be subject to this expanded review which creates uncertainty for business and increases timeline for permitting.” Specifically noting the nearly five year timeline of the Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview, she concludes that in addition to lengthy permitting timelines for businesses looking to invest in Washington, this process “reduces our base competitiveness.”
To listen to the full podcast from WRC, you can click here.