SEATTLE, Oct. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington State Department of Ecology today sent a chilling message to those whose livelihoods depend on future investment in trade and export infrastructure. Nearly two years after announcing the draft environmental review of Longview's Millennium Bulk Terminals should be released in November of this year, the state has pushed the review out again, delaying it into 2016.
"This is yet another delay of what should be a straightforward environmental review of Longview's Millennium Bulk Terminals," said Kathryn Stenger, spokeswoman for the Alliance for NW Jobs & Exports. "Today's news unfortunately tells the community that political antics trump an open regulatory process. This senseless delay will continue to keep hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment from being injected into the state and local economy."
The trade terminal has broad-based labor support both in the Longview area and also around the state, whose leadership also questioned the necessity of the latest delay.
"Continued delays of the environmental review for the trade terminal at Longview are unacceptable at a time when this community is in desperate need of family wage jobs for today, and years down the line," said Lee Newgent, executive secretary of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO. "There's no excuse for the continued delays. Labor unions, their members and their families support this project and expect a timely review process. The time has well passed for this project to move to the next stage in its regulatory approvals."
Association of Washington Business President Kris Johnson also shared his frustration with the state's continued delay of the environmental review.
"With so much at stake for the future of this state, it's troubling that officials would once again drag their feet on this environmental review. This gets at the heart of our state's competitiveness — a timely review process is essential for current and prospective businesses looking to launch new efforts here," said Johnson. "Given our state's uneven recovery, attracting and retaining jobs has never been more important, which means it's crucial that we have certainty and predictability in the regulatory process. These actions today give us neither."
"This process should be commodity neutral," added Johnson. "With intense competition from Canadian and California ports, Washington risks missing out on the new jobs and investment these facilities would provide, and the benefits that investment brings to all trade-related industries."
"The continued delays also mean continued economic hardships for the people of Longview," said Stenger.
"For decades, Longview has suffered one economic downturn after another. This regulatory delay only prolongs the reality of new family-wage jobs in a community that has not enjoyed the same economic resurgence as other regions in the state. Further economic development delays are costing the people of Longview jobs and the money that would otherwise go to support the community," she said.
"These communities need economic development now to shore up their ailing tax base -- public schools and public safety rely on a strong private sector to sustain the public sector. These terminals will expand trade and grow our export capacity, and that's good for the entire region. Additionally, study after study has demonstrated that these terminals would be in compliance with the rigorous environmental standards of the Northwest. Add to that, polling shows the majority of Washingtonians support the terminals," Stenger said.
"Ignoring this fact and politicizing the review process results in trade paralysis, damaging Washington's reputation as a trade leader," she concluded.
About Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports
Members of the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports include companies, labor, civic and other organizations who understand the importance of exports to our region and want to strengthen our trade economy. The Pacific Northwest is one of America's strongest regional trade economies with more than one in four jobs tied to trade. The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports is a non-profit trade organization that supports new export projects in Oregon and Washington state that will create thousands of new jobs and raise millions in tax revenue for our schools and other services. Learn more at www.createnwjobs.com.
SOURCE Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports