October 19, 2015
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Lawmakers from Wyoming, Montana visit Washington ports

We know that exports fuel Washington's economy, but our ports along Puget Sound and the Columbia/Snake River system also power the economic systems of states throughout the country. Employers, employees and entire communities in Montana and Wyoming depend on exports that pass through ports in Washington state for their livelihoods.Today and Tuesday, lawmakers from those states are touring current and future export sites in Washington and adding their voices to a message that's already strong from Washington's business and labor community: Washington's status as a major economic player on the global stage depends on supporting and expanding the state's import-export infrastructure. That includes the new Millennium bulk export facility in Longview.

As these officials tour the Millennium site, labor unions and employer groups are lamenting another delay in an environmental review process that has already taken nearly two years. Last week the Department of Ecology announced that the draft Environmental Impact Statement, which was scheduled to be released this November, would instead be pushed back indefinitely.

"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.

AWB President Kris Johnson echoed that frustration.

"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.

Follow the discussion at the Keep Washington Competitive Twitter feed, @KWC_Trade.

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Export-Import Bank Critical to Washington's Economy

Ex-Im Bank Is an Easy Yes

By Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers

ProGauge Technologies, Inc., a manufacturing company based in Bakersfield, California, is bidding on a project that could lead to 30 new jobs, but only five are staying here in the United States. The rest will be created abroad.

It didn't have to be that way. ProGauge is one of countless manufacturers in the United States, large and small, losing out on foreign sales and international deals because of Congress' failure to stand up for American jobs. "It's pretty sad not to be able to keep the jobs here," said ProGauge president Don Nelson.

Earlier this year, Congress allowed the Export-Import Bank's charter to expire and has not yet acted to reauthorize it. The Ex-Im Bank has served for more than 80 years as the U.S. export credit agency, ensuring access to competitive export financing for manufacturers in the United States that private banks are unable to offer. Countries around the world have similar credit agencies, and without ours, it is harder for U.S.-based companies to sell their products, made by American workers, overseas.

Click here to read the full column in U.S. News & World Report
Ag Worth Billions to State

Needed: More Water for Everyone in Yakima Valley

By The News Tribune editorial board

Some of America's richest farmland lies just over the Cascade Mountains in the Yakima River Valley. It provides most of the nation's apples and hops, and pulls billions of dollars into the state economy.

It's also fragile, as this year's unprecedented drought demonstrated. The valley's reservoir system is roughly a century old; even in the best of years, it doesn't deliver enough water to go around. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has introduced a measure that would bring the system into the 21st century; the Senate should pass it.

Her bill would put the U.S. government behind the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, a combination of irrigation, reservoir and habitat improvements. The legislation is backed by an improbably broad coalition that includes farmers, environmentalists, the Yakama Indians, fishermen, Republican and Democratic leaders.

A lot of those people are normally in the habit of squabbling with each other. Their unanimity in this case reflects the fact that the Integrated Plan pretty much makes everyone happy.

Click here to read the full editorial in The News Tribune
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