Project hailed as ‘a bridge to Washington’s energy future’
TACOMA — Citing the need for more family-wage jobs in Southwest Washington, members of the state’s largest private union for building and construction trade workers passed a resolution in support of the Vancouver Energy terminal at the Port of Vancouver USA. The resolution was approved Aug. 10 at the group’s convention in Tacoma.
“Family-wage jobs in communities outside of Seattle are increasingly difficult to find. This resolution recognizes the economic value of projects like Vancouver Energy, which would provide good-paying jobs in Southwest Washington,” said Lee Newgent, president of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council (WSBCTC).
“The jobs just aren’t there in Southwest Washington. And eventually, that’s going to impact the number of skilled trades workers. The only way we’re going to build a pipeline of future trades workers is with major infrastructure projects like Millennium and Vancouver Energy,” added Newgent.
In the resolution, the WSBCTC specifically references the environmental benefits, jobs and economic impacts that would come from the project:
Whereas, the Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council believes that it can no longer remain dependent on the economies of other regions to support its members and its communities as a whole, but must instead generate local opportunities to create and sustain a thriving economy centered in Southwest Washington;
Whereas, Vancouver Energy will create more than 300 family-wage construction jobs and 1,000 additional jobs through operations, support activities and induced impacts annually, thereby protecting and nurturing the industrial job base necessary to the well-being of both Washington State and the nation;
Whereas, Vancouver Energy has pledged that skilled Union tradesmen and tradeswomen, along with their apprentices, will construct the Vancouver Energy Terminal under a Project Labor Agreement which reflects the value and capabilities of American workers;
Whereas, the construction of the terminal will offer an essential opportunity for the Building Trades to start the next generation of skilled craft workers in a career that provides the level of wages and benefits required to maintain a successful family life in the local community;
Whereas; the construction and operation of the terminal will bring a $2 billion economic stimulus to Southwest Washington, including $1.6 billion in labor income, which will help alleviate the unemployment and local government budget shortages that continue to plague this area of the state;
Whereas, construction of the Vancouver Energy Terminal is not only critical to the people of Southwest Washington and the state as a whole, but also to the regional and national trade infrastructure;
Whereas, Vancouver Energy will safely and efficiently supply North American crude oil to West Coast refineries for conversion into transportation fuels for American families and businesses, thus helping to reduce imports from foreign countries by as much as 30 percent to make America stronger and more energy independent;
Whereas, Vancouver Energy will serve as a bridge to Washington’s energy future by providing crude oil that is lower in carbon intensity than what is currently refined in the state, making it the transitional equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off our roads;
Whereas, of the $210 million in private investment to build the project, $45 million will be specific to the safety measures, environmental protection enhancements, and commitments above the regulatory requirements for transportation, operations, incident prevention, and response planning that were made by Vancouver Energy in response to EFSEC and public input;
Whereas, the value of receiving and incorporating public input should not outweigh the need for a predictable, timely, and fair permitting process that encourages private investment in infrastructure that benefits our communities, local businesses, and families; and
Whereas, applicants (such as Vancouver Energy), communities, and tradesmen and tradeswomen should not be subjected to a permitting process that has still not reached completion after over four years of evaluations, studies, meetings, hearings, and reviews because such a timeline discourages true public involvement, erodes predictability for local contractors and their skilled craft workers, and dissuades private infrastructure investments and the community benefits they provide;
Now therefore be it resolved, that the Washington State Building and Constructions Trade Council reaffirms its strong support for Vancouver Energy and pledges to continue to work in all possible ways for the successful permitting and construction of the Vancouver Energy Terminal project; and
Be it further resolved, the Washington State Building and Constructions Trade Council calls on all affiliated Locals and members to participate in all public review processes to push for a reliable permitting timeline that will show businesses they can flourish in Washington State, and also to advocate for the high environmental standards, the quality jobs, and the local and state revenues this project will bring; and
Be it finally resolved, that the Washington State Building and Constructions Trade Council will continue to communicate its support to Governor Jay Inslee, the Washington State Legislature and Congressional Delegation, statewide elected officials, and relevant federal, state and local government agencies.
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. KWC works 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 https://keepwashingtoncompetitive.com/.