November 20, 2017
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Millennium shoreline permit denied; process shows excessive regulatory review process, supporters say

A hearing examiner in Cowlitz County has denied two shorelines permits that are key to redevelopment of an industrial site in Longview into a modern export terminal. Hearing Examiner Mark Scheibmeir denied the permits despite a recommendation from Cowlitz County planning staff that he approve them, with conditions.

He concluded that Millennium had not shown it could compensate for a variety of impacts, including increased rail, vehicle and vessel traffic. He included global greenhouse gas emissions from coal transported through the site -- an unprecedented "cradle-to-grave" impact that has been added to Millennium's permits. The Daily News covered the story.

Millennium said it would appeal the ruling to the state Shoreline Hearings Board.

“The decision is based primarily on issues outside the shoreline area applicable to any new terminal or transportation project in the State of Washington,” said Bill Chapman, Millennium CEO. “Not allowing Millennium to use this industrial shoreline for a bulk materials terminal simply because there will be more trains on the tracks and more vessels on the Columbia River, makes a bold statement that there is no industrial or port use for this site, or for any other industrial port site in Cowlitz County or anywhere else on the Columbia River System.”

Mark Martinez, president of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council, said the state keeps moving the goalposts on Millennium.

“Today’s ruling by Cowlitz County suggests Washington state’s regulatory climate continues to worsen, with few signs of improvement,” Martinez said.

That sentiment was echoed by others watching the case closely because of Millennium's potential to bring in high-paying jobs to an economically depressed area.

“My overriding fear is that we are becoming so restrictive," said Ted Sprague, president of the Cowlitz Economic Development Council. "Because an industrial site along an international shipping channel will increase train and vessel traffic, then we’re denying it. … What will we permit in this state?”

Meanwhile, former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna weighed in on the permitting process with an op-ed in The Olympian. McKenna noted the recent ruling by a Cowlitz County superior court judge who said that regulatory rulings in another necessary Millennium permit have been hijacked.

"After five years and thousands of hours of public testimony, it took a Cowlitz County judge just five seconds to say what many of us have long suspected: some state regulators are out of control, and important parts of the state regulatory process are now tools of activist groups."

McKenna noted that Millennium has invested $15 million and five years into the project -- and that few other investors would be likely to have that level of patience as they look to bring development jobs to Washington.

For more information on this issue, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Mary Catherine McAleer at 360.943.1600.

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Continue Bipartisan Successes

One-party rule in Olympia should not end bipartisan effort

By Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville

The election this month of Democrat Manka Dhingra to represent the people of the 45th legislative district changes the landscape of the Washington state Senate, resulting in a return to one-party rule in Olympia.

However, it does not have to change the bipartisan way in which the Legislature has operated since a group of Democrats joined with Republicans in 2013 to govern by consensus, ushering in unprecedented achievements.

For the past five years, the bipartisan Majority Coalition Caucus controlled the Senate, while Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and governor's mansion. For measures to pass, members of both chambers had to debate, negotiate and compromise.

This process resulted in the passage of historic legislation, such as the first-ever college-tuition reduction, a $16 billion transportation package and a plan to fully fund basic education with equitable levy reform...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
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Be watchful of Seattle's income tax

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By spurring debate, advocates for the Seattle income tax hope to reverse historical precedent and open the door so other communities can follow Seattle's lead.

If that were to happen, it's reasonable to think the next step would be an effort to impose an income tax statewide. That's why we should be watching this issue closely.

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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