Coalition: Ecology Threatens Investment, Jobs in Washington

Labor, business rally around Millennium water permit appeal

OLYMPIA — Representatives from labor and business agree: The Washington State Department of Ecology is putting jobs at risk in Washington state.

“This latest decision by the Department of Ecology to deny Millennium its water permit based on questionable criteria outside its purview makes me wonder if any project in our state is going to get a fair and timely review,” said Shannon Stull, secretary/treasurer of the Longview/Kelso Building Trades. “Millennium Bulk Terminals would bring significant investments to Cowlitz County, at a time when we need real, family-wage jobs. Ecology continues to politicize what is supposed to be a fair process, putting jobs on the line and risking any future investments in Southwest Washington. Millennium is right to appeal this crucial decision.”

Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, said Ecology has compromised the state’s regulatory process to a point that it is difficult for projects to receive a fair and timely hearing.

“Frankly, this is not the kind of business climate we want here in Washington state. We need clear permit guidelines and timely reviews. We’ve seen neither in the case of Millennium, where the project is now extending into its fifth year of review,” said Johnson. “Agency overreach sends the wrong message to potential investors and jeopardizes future employment opportunities, particularly in areas of the state in dire need of an economic boost. We support Millennium in its appeal going forward.”