Farm Bureau throws support behind coal terminals
By Andy Giegerich, Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Supporters of three proposed coal export facilities in the Northwest picked up a heady supporter as discussions over the energy form hit continued fevered pitches.
The American Farm Bureau has thrown its backing to the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports as officials consider coal transport facilities in Boardman and in Cherry Point and Longview, Wash. The Farm Bureau believes that the facilities will deliver thousands of jobs, bolster the Northwest’s trade infrastructure and, eventually, benefit agriculture producers.
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Manufacturers Commend Labor Officials for Supporting Coal Exports
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons issued this statement following a press conference by officials from the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, the AFL-CIO and the International Union of Operating Engineers, announcing their support of the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to limit the scope of its environmental review of the proposed Millennium Terminal in Longview, Washington, to the local impact of the project.
“With this announcement, labor officials are a strong voice in the growing chorus of manufacturers, business leaders and over 60 percent of Washington State residents who recognize the enormous economic benefits that would result from approval of coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest. Over ten thousand jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in wages hang in the balance, and I commend the leaders of these organizations for standing up to opponents who would exploit the review system to stall these job-creating projects.”
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Labor groups favor narrower review of Wash. coal export proposals
Spokesmen for three national labor groups sounded off Wednesday against the state Department of Ecology’s plan to subject the Gateway Pacific coal-export proposal at Cherry Point to a more stringent environmental review than the Army Corps of Engineers plans. The Army Corps announced earlier this month it was doing a more site specific review after previously announcing in July it would work jointly with Ecology effort.
Ecology announced its decision in late July after getting about 125,000 comments from the public over a 121-day period. The agency plans to look at the cumulative impacts of rail traffic bringing coal by rail from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming to serve the export docks proposed by SSA Marine. In a move that appears to be a first nationally, Ecology also is planning to consider the greenhouse gas effects of burning the coal in China, India and other potential markets.
Labor prefers the Army Corps’ approach, which is more in line with past reviews, said John Risch, national legislative director for the transportation division of SMART. He told reporters in a Wednesday morning teleconference from Washington, D.C., that environmental review has become a way to thwart or delay projects. He suggested the state’s approach could slow the Cherry Point project and “would be a regulatory nightmare.’’
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Special to The Spokesman-Review: Coal export projects benefit all of us
By Janet Schmidlkofer And Michael Senske
We are advocates for trade in Eastern Washington. We have participated in trade missions, spoken on behalf of reasonable regulations and worked to make sure that our commodities get a fair shake at trading with international partners.
We believe our efforts have been rewarded. Every year we see local companies expanding their international reach – prompting our export numbers upward and increasing the importance of trade in the Spokane area.
The Spokane area brings a lot of goods to market. From the wheat fields of the Palouse to our growing aerospace sector to the tech companies of Liberty Lake, we produce and export a unique mix of goods. In Spokane alone, exports total approximately $873 million annually, and in the 5th Congressional District more than 23,000 jobs are directly connected to Spokane exporters.
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