State agency jeopardizing jobs in rural Washington state
SEATTLE — Citing continued overreach by the Washington state Department of Ecology, representatives from the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports praised Millennium Bulk Terminals for today’s water permit appeal and called on regulators to abide by the rule of law.
“Ecology’s denial of Millennium’s water permit tipped its hand and showed the process for what it really is: a political drama with a pre-determined outcome,” said Alliance spokeswoman Mariana Parks. “When Ecology denied Millennium its water quality permit earlier this month, it did so based on everything but water quality criteria. If this is the precedent that Ecology seeks to establish, then any other commodity could be denied a permit for equally capricious reasons.”
Added Parks, “The vast majority of our manufacturing and agricultural products all move by rail throughout the state. Are we to assume those products will endure the same level of scrutiny now? This sets a bad precedent for all future projects in our state, and for the jobs they would potentially bring to local economies,” she said. “We can ill-afford for Ecology to morph into an ‘exuberant, job-killing agency’ as some have observed.”
Mike Bridges, President of the Longview/Kelso Building Trades, said a constantly shifting regulatory process just puts more pressure on local economies already struggling to grow local jobs.
“Millennium made the right call to appeal this decision. This is something that stands to have lasting implications for this project and any future projects in Washington state,” said Bridges. “Families need jobs they can build their lives around. Millennium has demonstrated good faith to meet the requirements of this process. Ecology’s decision raises legitimate questions about the fairness of the state’s unpredictable regulatory system, which sends the wrong message to potential and existing employers looking to invest in Cowlitz County.”