Army Corps environmental hearings the latest in four-year-long permit process
OLYMPIA —Labor and business members of Keep Washington Competitive welcomed today’s U.S. Army Corps announcement heralding a new round of hearings for Millennium Bulk Terminals as an important step in the project’s regulatory process. However, they also cautioned that continued delays would further jeopardize private investment and job creation in Washington.
“Four years ago, our brothers and sisters in the Longview labor community were excited at the prospect of new family-wage jobs in a community that sees little new job growth. Today, they and their families continue to wait because the regulatory reviews continue on without end,” said Willy Myers, executive secretary for the Columbia Pacific Building Trades. “Millennium Bulk Terminals would provide excellent skilled labor opportunities for workers who want to live and raise their families in the Longview area. As a state, we need to be sure the state’s regulatory process offers a fair and timely review of projects so we don’t lose jobs and investment opportunities.
“We’re four years into this project,” added Myers. “Families can’t wait four years to take care of their families. They need certainty, too.”
Millennium Bulk Terminals first began its permitting process back in February 2012. The Army Corp’s draft EIS addresses MBT’s proposal to expand and redevelop an existing, underutilized long-time industrial site into a vibrant world-class port facility that could handle a variety of commodities.
On Sept. 30, the Corps released its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, kick-starting a 60-day comment period and heralding two October public hearings in Southwest Washington: Oct. 24 in Longview and Oct. 25 in Vancouver.
Association of Washington Business President Kris Johnson added, “Today’s announcement by the U.S. Army Corps represents a significant step forward in the regulatory process for Millennium. It also underscores the need for a more streamlined permitting process, one that ensures greater certainty for employers. Otherwise, we are likely to see a decline in private investments, which will only hurt job creation and our overall economy.”