Millennium Permit Process A Charade

Governor, Ecology gave false hope to job seekers in pre-determined process to deny permits

SEATTLE — Citing a complete lack of faith in the state’s regulatory review process, representatives from the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports issued the following statement on the Department of Ecology’s rejection of the Millennium Bulk Terminals water quality permit:

“Today’s announcement by Director Maia Bellon and the Department of Ecology lays bare the real regulatory process in Washington state is political theater engineered to fit a specific narrative while denying thousands of jobs to people most in need in our state,” said Mike Bridges, president, Longview/Kelso Building Trades. “This announcement is part of an absurd political effort to stop energy projects in their tracks. And what’s sad is that the state has dragged our members, and thousands of our brothers and sisters through five years of public comment and hearings that were all apparently just for show. Denying Millennium’s water quality permit based on every conceivable notion except water quality issues tells you all you need to know: This process was pre-determined, and was only in search of some hook to hang their reasoning to reject the proposed terminal.”

“Where was the outrage, the protests, the handwringing when King County dumped 235 million gallons of sewage into Puget Sound this past spring? Where was Ecology then? Why no public hearings or public admonishments? Where was the environmental outrage then?” added Mariana Parks, spokeswoman for ANWJE. “Instead, county government gets by with a $300,000 slap on the wrist. But private sector businesses, who create thousands of good-paying jobs in areas of the state desperate for work, get dragged through the political wringer for five years. And to what end?”

“The state knew how it wanted to rule all along, but the governor and Ecology gave my members and the people of Cowlitz County false hope, seemingly going through a permitting process that was billed as a fair and necessary procedure,” added Bridges. “This whole process has been a farce from day one. Our members are hopeful that the appeals board will overrule this blatantly political decision by the Department of Ecology.  If they don’t overturn this outrageous action we will certainly remember this in the coming years, when we get a chance to decide who really stands up for jobs and labor in this state.”

Millennium Bulk Terminals is planning to appeal the decision by Ecology Director Bellon to the State of Washington’s Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office. While this appeal is underway, other permits necessary for Millennium Bulk Terminal’s approval, including the Shorelines permit continue through their regular public comment process.