Project draws support from trades unions seeking apprenticeship opportunities, jobs
VANCOUVER — Hundreds of supporters packed a hearing room Wednesday in favor of Vancouver Energy and the family-wage jobs it would mean for the people of Southwest Washington.
The hearing, held at Clark College in Vancouver, drew trades union representatives and members who want to see development of the oil transfer station at the Port of Vancouver USA. Vancouver Energy anticipates creating more than 1,000 private sector, family-wage jobs. Wednesday’s hearing before the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council or EFSEC, focused on an air permit, one of several required permits for the project.
“Today’s’ hearing is one small milestone marking another step toward a final decision. On behalf of our members, we want to reiterate our support for this project and the positive impact this will have on the skilled labor market in Southwest Washington,” said Willy Myers, executive secretary for the Columbia Pacific Building Trades. “This project represents apprenticeship opportunities for so many of our brothers and sisters in the trades. We urge the EFSEC board to approve the air permit and take the steps necessary to bring this project to a final recommendation.”
Nate Stokes, field staff coordinator with the Operating Engineers, also testified Wednesday in support of the project. Stokes said projects like Vancouver Energy would likely attract other projects, creating other jobs and training opportunities. “The air permit is one small piece of a larger economic development puzzle for Southwest Washington. The Port of Vancouver USA is doing what it needs to do to protect its competitive advantage. Our members believe Vancouver Energy would be a good thing for this area, bringing with it lots of family-wage jobs and opportunities for additional work along the way.”
Wednesday’s air permit hearing was one of several regulatory steps that first began for Vancouver Energy in 2013. An additional public hearing is expected in July for a water permit. EFSEC is compiling an extensive environmental impact statement which it will use as the basis for its recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee. The governor will ultimately make the final decision as to whether the facility can be designed, constructed and operated in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
“We believe in this project and we also believe Vancouver Energy is committed to everything it has outlined in its proposal,” said Shannon Walker, president of the Southwest Washington Labor Council. “We want to see this project through to completion. Today’s air permit is just another step in that process and our members are prepared to see it through.”
About Keep Washington Competitive
In 2014, AWB and representatives from labor, business, agriculture and other trade organizations formed Keep Washington Competitive, a coalition united to protect trade from overreaching regulations and to promote bi-lateral trade growth in Washington state through sound state policies and fostering a regulatory environment that encourages investment in our state trade industries. To learn more, visit http://keepwashingtoncompetitive.com/.