Environment and jobs: Readers weigh in

Don’t blame agencies

In the Op-Ed “State agencies are regulating our jobs out of existence,” the authors blame the Washington State Department of Ecology and other agencies for harming local economies with regulations. While we share their desire for economic growth in rural Washington, it must go hand-in-hand with clean air and water that doesn’t put people at high risk of disease from pollution. The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal-export project in Longview isn’t the right path forward.

Washington has been building our clean-energy economy through targeted investments in pilot programs and world-class facilities. Our solar industry has created 3,700 Washington jobs since 2006. We are developing world-class battery and smart-grid technologies that will benefit people throughout our state.

The expansion of fossil-fuel infrastructure, when the global economy is rapidly shifting to renewable energy, would put local communities at risk for future economic loss and adverse health effects. Don’t blame state agencies for protecting public and environmental health.

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Judy Twedt, Seattle, and Grant Williamson, Seattle, members of the King County Labor Council Climate Caucus


Economy is on track

The Op-Ed piece “State agencies are regulating our jobs out of existence” must not be talking about Washington state. Washington has a robust economy, and its low unemployment rate is on par with the national average. It also has effective laws that protect its communities, rivers and special places like the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

The Millennium coal-terminal project, proposed on the banks of the Columbia River, would be the largest coal-export terminal in the country. It would transport 44 million tons of coal per year along the Columbia River in open-topped coal cars. Scientists at the University of Washington determined that coal trains pollute our parks, rivers and communities with coal dust. In Longview, coal would be stockpiled in the open in huge piles until it’s loaded onto oceangoing freighters, increasing vessel traffic on the Columbia River.

In 2011, Millennium attempted to skirt environmental review by misrepresenting the size of its terminal. They were caught in this lie and had to reapply for permits. Since then, the project has been denied three times. It’s time for the proponents to stop blaming the messenger…

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