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Gateway Pacific Terminal
Sep 12, 2013

East Coast Environmental Activist Cautioned Against Inciting Lawlessness

When you sign up for a career in public safety, you accept that there are risks involved in the job. Putting on a uniform was always a matter of pride for me, but it was also a  daily reminder that I would gladly put myself in harm's way to protect my fellow citizens, civil order and the law.
Public safety is my greatest passion and my life's work. I spent three years as a policeman in the Army and almost three decades as an officer with the Richland Police Department - Hanford Patrol. I went on to spend the better part of two decades in the Washington Legislature until my fellow Benton County residents elected me to serve as Benton County Commissioner.
I have worked as a law enforcement officer, fought to maintain public safety priorities in the Legislature and now serve my friends and neighbors as a Benton County commissioner. My background as a law enforcement officer makes me very much opposed to the idea of civil disorder for the sake of making a political point.
That is why I think it is important for me to express my concerns today. I could not stay on the sidelines after hearing that opponents of coal exports, led by environmentalist Bill McKibben, have been calling for "civil disobedience."
McKibben has been traveling from Vermont to the Northwest lately to talk about his opposition to coal exports. On one of his recent visits to Oregon, he went so far as to encourage opponents of coal exports to take the law into their own hands. McKibben is not from here, so our infamous "Northwest process" may seem a little on the long side, but I challenge him to recognize the value of dealing with contentious issues without law breaking or disorder.
I can say this with certainty - taking the law into your own hands is never the right approach to dealing with conflict.
This topic is important to discuss now as the state Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County are beginning the environmental impact study on one of the three Northwest coal export projects - the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview. Public meetings have been announced with one of the meetings in Pasco on Oct. 1. The others will be held Sept. 17 in Longview; Sept. 25 in Spokane; Oct. 9 at the Clark County Fairgrounds north of Vancouver and Oct. 17 in Tacoma. As we attend these meetings, let's keep the peace.
As for the projects themselves, I am supportive. Our region needs a new path to growth and recovery. The projects, proposed for Boardman, Oreg., Longview and Bellingham, would create thousands of jobs and millions in tax dollars.
As an elected leader of a small local government, I cannot overemphasize the importance of private investment in our communities. In the case of coal exports, these investments will pave the way for other exports, including agriculture. That's something we cannot ignore here in Southwest Washington.
I have also heard project opponents say that these export terminals will cause burdensome train delays, going so far as to imply the train traffic will hamper first responders. Having served in this capacity, I want people to know that first responders have been working with the railroads for a long time. Any increase in rail traffic will be well communicated - everyone will work to make sure it happens in a way that allows first responders to do their jobs.
The reality is that much of the opposition to the export terminals comes from people who are concerned about the increase in rail. In my book, an increase in rail is a good thing for the Northwest. More rail traffic means that goods are going out and trade is on the upswing.  The Washington state economy is dependent on trade - four out of ten jobs are tied to trade - not a small piece of the pie. I think that is the reason a recent survey showed the projects have 2-1 support in the region, with 60 percent of those surveyed saying they support the proposed facilities.
I am excited for the possibility of more trade and jobs in Washington State. As a public servant, and a veteran I know the benefit of tax dollars resulting from private investment. It means safer communities, better care for veterans, investment in infrastructure, and money for cash strapped schools. I proudly support these projects.
Jerome Delvin is a Benton County Commissioner.

Orignally posted at Tri-City Herald

Sep 12, 2013

Will the state of Washington's unprecedented review of the Gateway terminal harm Washington's economy?

We think so and you can hear from a growing number of influential voices who agree in the recent article Ecology on Hot Seat About Coal-Port Analysis -- Business Calls it Bizarre, Worrisome. The story highlights concern across the region that the decision could set a far-reaching precedent that impacts every major enterprise in Washington, to the detriment of our economic future.

But you can tell the state that overregulation is not the answer by making your voice heard and commenting here. It will only take a few minutes and makes a big difference in protecting community priorities.

Through this decision the state would be able to decide which products can be shipped from the state whenever it feels the environmental impact will be "significant" -- effectively using environmental regulation to exert control over interstate commerce, which has always been the role of federal authorities.

This is a dangerous and slippery slope. The state has the responsibility to assess economic and environmental impact of proposed projects. It also has the duty to ensure that the process is guided by law, not politics.

Learn the facts and
Tell the state of Washington to make job creation and trade a bigger priority than overregulation.

Aug 22, 2013

New coal train report released, kept under wraps for 5 weeks

A new city report has positive things to say about coal trains in Seattle, so is that why it spent five weeks in Mayor Mike McGinn's office before it was released?

Please read the KIRO article

Jul 02, 2013

Important Jobs And Economic Information
About GPT

A recent opinion piece from the Save Birch Bay group tried to pick apart economic estimates for the Gateway Pacific Terminal project, but the author misunderstands the data, in some cases reading the wrong sections of very long and complicated reports. 

terminal site new photoFirst, it should be noted that these estimates are continually refined as design work progresses; so a construction cost estimate that was given two years ago is going to be periodically updated with new knowledge. Just like building a house, costs always seem to go up, rather than down. These aren't discrepancies, just changes in the forecast. (When a weather forecast changes, we don't consider the prior one to have been "deceptive" just because we now have better information.)

Also, she criticizes Gateway Pacific Terminal for stating that the project may be built over two years instead of a previously estimated four years. There's no mystery here, because whether to build in one or two phases is being considered. 

The author points out that the early estimates of overall beneficial economic impact to the community (construction plus initial 10 years of operation) would be $1.4 billion, not the $1.8 billion current figure. Actually, the way costs seem to escalate in these big projects, I wouldn't be surprised to see that number approach $2 billion before it's all over. But pick any number you want; they are all huge. 

The Birch Bay writer also gets confused about the wage data, stating that the estimates of wages at the terminal vary. That's correct, because you are talking about different kinds of jobs. She claims that our earlier regulatory filings said that rail workers, tugboat crews, longshoremen, would make $36,000 per year, not over $75,000 per year as stated in our recent report to the community. She's reading from the wrong section of the filings, a section that accounts for anticipated clerical and office workers. I can assure you that the highly skilled rail and maritime tradespeople earn more than $36,000 per year, and Gateway Pacific Terminal will create many more of those precious family-wage jobs. 

Let's set the jobs numbers straight. Two prominent sets of economists have estimated the job creation that would result from Gateway Pacific Terminal, using two different but nationally accepted economic forecasting models.

The first estimates were done by Martin Associates of Philadelphia, one of the world's leading experts on port economics. Their work was vetted by three highly regarded regional economists affiliated with Western Washington University (but working on their own time). Their results were similar, but not identical, and the two sets of employment forecasts have been merged into a single, most current estimate, as follows: 

Construction phase (full build-out over two years): Direct construction jobs (full-time equivalents), 2,120; indirect and induced jobs, 2,310; total jobs generated during construction, 4,430.

Ongoing operations:
Direct jobs, 430; indirect and induced jobs, 820:
total permanent jobs, 1,250.

Economists measure both the direct and economic impacts and those that result from the "multiplier effect" of economic activity. "Direct" employment involves workers who are engaged in terminal operations. "Indirect" employment includes jobs created through the purchase of goods and services from other businesses that would support Gateway Pacific Terminal's operations. As with the other industries at Cherry Point, this is a major generator of jobs in the economy. "Induced" employment results from workers spending their wages for clothes, cars, appliances, health care, etc.

As estimates are refined, we will report them to the public. Meanwhile, we are happy to provide the most current factual information to community residents upon request.

Finally, I need to remind myself that not all county residents share the same history. 

Longtime residents will remember decades-long efforts to set aside a place for water-dependent heavy industry to operate outside of population centers, so that we could have both the benefits of high-wage employment and some isolation of impacts. More recent arrivals to the community may not appreciate that the Cherry Point industrial area is the result of longterm economic, land use and shoreline planning. 

With poverty rates higher than the rest of the state and nationwe badly need industrial job growth. That's one reason why Gateway Pacific Terminal is so important to the future of working families.

Jun 12, 2013

British Columbia Opts for Pro Jobs,
Pro-Export Terminal Expansion Leaders

Speculation surrounding the attitude of our British Columbia neighbors toward the continued expansion of port capacity for the exportation of raw materials, including coal and other U.S. and Canadian commodities, was answered in last month's provincial elections. 

Articles in by columnist Joel Connelly [Coal trains ,pipelines, climate: British Columbia vote mirrors U.S., Premier Christy Clark leads upset victory in British Columbia] describe the run-up to and the results of an election that provided voters a clear choice between the left and green-leaning candidacy of Adrian Dix (and his New Democratic Party) and the pro-exports "free enterprise coalition" of incumbent Premier Christy Clark (and her Liberal Party).

According to Connelly, Dix campaigned on themes that opposed the expansion of coal and oil exports from B.C. ports, while Clark extolled jobs and tax revenue by expanding exports and the economy. Dix and his party lost; Clark and her party won. British Columbia has not "gone green", according to Connelly.

A lack of port capacity to efficiently serve U.S. exports of dry bulk products like corn, coal, grains, and wood biofuels is driving the development of port capacity elsewhere, especially to B.C. In a previous report [Will the Trains Come Anyway? YES], detail was provided on the confirmed and potential expansion at five B.C. ports, along with the sources of the data. These are facts, but opponents of U.S. port and industrial expansion, including the GPT project at Cherry Point, WA, have turned a blind eye to these facts, saying that the British Columbians were turning against such development. In light of this election, they may want to re-consider this line of argument.

Like B.C. voters, we too have a choice: expand port capacity here and capture the benefits of increased U.S. exports in terms of jobs and tax revenues. Or watch those jobs and revenue literally pass us by to British Columbia where business is welcomed.

We can't afford to let these jobs pass us by! Support GPT now

May 06, 2013

Let’s be honest:
The concern really isn’t about coal dust

Please read The Bellingham Herald article by Mike Elliott

Page Last Updated: Sep 12, 2013 (11:45:00)
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