Cowlitz County shorelines permit another case of regulatory overreach
OLYMPIA — A decision by Cowlitz County hearings examiner to deny Millennium Bulk Terminals its shoreline permit proves Washington state’s regulatory review processes is out of control according to labor, business, trade and agricultural representatives.
“Today’s ruling by Cowlitz County suggests Washington state’s regulatory climate continues to worsen, with few signs of improvement,” said Mark Martinez, president of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council. “On the one hand the state says Millennium has met all of the state and federal standards when it comes to things like water quality standards. Yet Ecology and now the county turn around and say the applicant has not done enough. How do you meet the standard for permits in this state when the regulators consistently change the rules? When they effectively move the goal posts on you?”
John Stuhlmiller, CEO of the Washington Farm Bureau, shared Martinez’ concern about the ruling and what this means for those looking to invest or grow businesses in Washington state.
“We’re effectively closing the doors on any sort of investment opportunities with rulings like this. This arbitrary application of regulatory standards and inconsistent timelines does little to instill either confidence or interest in our state, especially when it comes to any sort of manufacturing or agricultural industries looking to locate here,” he said.
“Industrial zones are just that: areas where this kind of business is allowed to take place. But we are rapidly boxing them off, where no one will be able to do business. This is what ports are for, what industrial areas are for. Washington needs to wake up to what our regulatory process has become, before it’s too late. State agencies have become real barriers to investment, and eventually that’s going to affect us all.”