November 21, 2016
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EPA approves parts of Washington's water quality rule



Years of debate about how to ensure clean waterways came to an end last week when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized strict water quality rules for the state. The EPA adopted parts of the state's proposed water quality plan, plus even stricter limits than the state had proposed.

Maia Bellon, director of the state Department of Ecology, said she's disappointed the "state's approach wasn't accepted in its entirety." The state worked hard to balance protecting human health and the environment while helping businesses and local governments comply, she said.

The EPA's rule is stricter on PCBs, arsenic and mercury, adopting rules that will be costly and difficult to meet for major employers and for city wastewater treatment plants.

In the case of PCBs, the EPA rule is 25 times more stringent than the state's proposal.

Rob Duff, a senior policy advisor for Gov. Jay Inslee, said the EPA rule is focused on factories, wastewater plants and other point-source polluters, but those aren't the major source of the chemicals, he said.

The Northwest Pulp & Paper Association said it was "extremely disappointed" in the EPA's final rule. The rule fails to incorporate the input of private businesses and public agencies and "sets up a system for failure, litigation and permitting uncertainty," the group said in a statement.

The Associated Press and KNKX radio have more.

For more on this rule and its impacts, contact Brandon Houskeeper, AWB government affairs director for environmental issues.



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Focus on Sustainability

Feed Commodities LLC: Giving Unused Bakery Goods a New Life

This Tacoma company helps divert past-its-prime food from the landfill to ranchers, feeding cattle across the Northwest.

From Salem, Ore., to the Canadian border, Feed Commodities, LLC is the Pacific Northwest's premier recycler of bakery byproducts into livestock feeds. The company acquires otherwise unusable raw bakery goods around the Pacific Northwest to process at its Tacoma facility. Each month, the plant repurposes thousands of tons of bakery products that would otherwise end up in landfills, turning it into high-quality livestock feed sold in bulk to ranchers.

The company has also taken the lead in food waste reduction through the development of Normandy Waste Management Systems, a web-based software service designed to help the food production community learn how to track and reduce waste in their daily operations.

Read the full story in Washington Business Magazine
Time to Build Millennium Bulk Terminals

Still waiting for good jobs in Cowlitz County

By Mike Bridges, president of the Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council

Millennium's $680 million private investment stands to create more than 1,000 union construction jobs over a two-year build-out under a Project Labor Agreement. That's also 135 permanent jobs when the facility is complete and 2,650 direct and indirect construction jobs overall. And that doesn't count the ongoing maintenance work that would employ different trades for years to come. For Cowlitz County, this represents a significant private investment that would have an enormous economic impact on thousands of tradespeople and their families. All told, Millennium would bring in $43.1 million in state and local taxes during construction, and $5.4 million in state and local taxes each year when fully operational.

It would also mean fewer people on the road, working closer to home.

Right now, most of our tradesmen and women work outside of Cowlitz County. Many work out of state, driving home on weekends or once a month for visits. I get so tired of people criticizing these Millennium jobs as "temporary." Anyone in the trades knows our work is always "temporary." And for someone who drives thousands of miles each month to a job in Montana, visiting their kids once a month back home in Kelso, the promise of a local "temporary" job sounds pretty appealing...

Read the full column in The Stand
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