Decision flies in face of own FEIS findings, casts shadow on state competitiveness
OLYMPIA — Labor and agriculture leaders within Keep Washington Competitive denounced today’s decision by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, which ignores the council’s own findings and casts a shadow over the state’s trade and business climates.
“EFSEC is not listening to its own findings. This decision fails to take into account four years of work and a record $10 million that Vancouver Energy paid to EFSEC for reviews, culminating in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which found there would be no significant unavoidable impacts that cannot be mitigated associated with either the construction or normal operation of this facility,” said Larry Brown, legislative and political director, Aerospace Machinists 751. “What’s more, this decision sets a bad precedent for future energy projects in this state, and for the jobs and economic development that would come with it. We’re basically telling the world we are anti-development, anti-construction and anti-jobs.”
“Through its actions today, EFSEC is turning its back on future investment in Washington state,” said Matthew Hepner, executive director, Certified Electrical Workers of Washington. “In the future businesses are going to think carefully, if at all, about locating here in Washington state. The FEIS said the project could be constructed and operated safely with the proper mitigations. So, really, today’s announcement proves that even if you follow all of the protocols and regulatory processes and receive a favorable finding, the deck is stacked against you in Washington state.”
John Stuhlmiller, CEO of the Washington Farm Bureau, added that today’s decision casts a long shadow on trade infrastructure projects in Washington state.
“If this sort of process continues, no one will want to build large trade infrastructure projects in Washington state because of an open-ended, arbitrary and capricious regulatory environment,” said Stuhlmiller. “For EFSEC to do this without so much as an explanation from any of the council members speaks volume about our regulatory process. We can’t continue down this path and expect to be the most trade-dependent state in the nation if we are not willing to invest in new infrastructure projects. If you look at the recent pattern of regulatory rulings, they have all had far-reaching regulatory implications that will increasingly stifle development,” he added.
“It’s pretty clear that the standard used to deny this project is unmeetable, and the threshold for future projects will be from here on out.”