October 26, 2015
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Lawmakers, unions, employers highlights vital role of Washington's ports far beyond our state's borders



Lawmakers from three states, both political parties and all sides of the business-labor spectrum toured a proposed coal export site in Longview and the working Seattle waterfront last week. In two press conferences attended by print and television journalists, leaders spoke about the importance of keeping Washington competitive in the export market, including the need to approve the proposed Millennium and Cherry Point terminals.

The Longview Daily News, KOIN television, The News Tribune and Capital Press reported on the visit Monday by Wyoming and Montana legislators to the proposed site of the Millennium bulk export terminal.

The terminal would allow export of a wide variety of products, including coal and crops, from landlocked states that depend on Washington sites to ship their goods to willing customers across the Pacific.

"Our products need to get to international markets, and to do that, they’ve got to get to the sea, and they’ve got to get to a facility like this to get overseas to our customers," said Montana state Rep. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, while visiting.

Washington lawmakers from both parties joined the visiting legislators to tour an abandoned aluminum smelter now being eyed for redevelopment by Millennium. They noted that when the Longview project alone is approved, it will directly create 1,350 construction jobs, plus another 1,300 indirect jobs. Once completed, the terminal would directly employ 135 people and indirectly support another 165 jobs.

"I think this is just a great partnership with our friends in Montana and Wyoming to really make an impact here in Washington,” said Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “The best thing about it is the economy and the families that will benefit here in Longview and in Cowlitz County."

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House Democrats Opposed Carbon Tax

Opposing Inslee's climate proposals is a bipartisan affair

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new carbon-emissions reduction plan and declared any lawmaker who opposes it a "fear monger." He said opponents are joining ranks with "the climate deniers." And he blamed Republicans in the Legislature this year for failing to act on his big plan to restrict and tax carbon.

Well, I don't think the governor is giving his own party enough credit. It wasn't the Republicans who killed his grandiose cap-and-trade proposal. Democrats killed it before the Republicans even had a chance. ...

People in both parties recognize there are big problems with these overweening schemes to remake our economy and our society. Democrats are as leery as anyone. It's just that most of us don't like to go public with our misgivings.

The latest development is that the governor is ordering the Department of Ecology to impose another poorly thought-out carbon program -- that's one way to avoid a vote of the Legislature. I'm not sure he will get away with it, but it's no wonder he's trying.

Even if we could change the world climate with an immediate reduction in carbon emissions, Washington simply doesn't produce enough to make a difference -- just two-tenths of one percent of global output annually. At best the governor's proposals would reduce a small fraction of that, and any reductions in this state will instantly be offset by increases on the other side of the globe.

Click here to read the full op-ed in Crosscut
Washington Benefits From the Ex-Im Bank

It's past time for Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

By The Yakima Herald-Republic's editorial board

Congressional representatives get paid to govern, not grandstand. It appears that enough House members recognize that reality, and now a key piece of legislation stands a legitimate chance of passing -- with great benefit to the Yakima Valley and Washington state.

The issue involves the Export-Import Bank, which Congress created in 1934 and has reauthorized 16 times in the ensuing decades. But a small minority in Congress this year held up reauthorization on the argument that it amounts to corporate welfare.

It is not so much welfare as it is a tool that enables companies, especially American companies, to conduct business across international borders.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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