Urge Support for Exports in the Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest has the opportunity to build more export facilities in Oregon and Washington, which could create thousands of jobs. However, opponents are demanding a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a type of environmental review that goes well beyond the comprehensive, multi-year process already required by existing law. Opponents are determined to block the $660 million Gateway Pacific shipping terminal in Whatcom County because one of the commodities the terminal would handle is coal. In the process, they are sacrificing thousands of construction jobs, hundreds of permanent jobs.
To learn more about the projects and the issues involved, please visit the website for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports
A solid way to strengthen the Northwest region and create much-needed jobs is by increasing the ability to export goods. Government officials, media and the public need to hear how the decision to build new shipping terminals and move forward with coal exports is critical to manufacturing.
What You Can Do:
Can you join us by supporting the Gateway Pacific shipping terminal?
Written comments in support of the project are still being collected. These written comments carry equal weight as verbal testimony - it is critical that the decision makers know that the pro-job majority wants to see this project constructed.
Please take a few moments to submit online comments opposing requiring a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Port of Morrow project or any other export project. Comments close on January 22nd.
Sample Comment Letter
I write today to voice my strong support for proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal/Cluster Spur, located within the Cherry Point Industrial Urban Growth Area. As a manufacturer, I rely on ports to export goods, products and raw material to customers in other countries. To compete in a global economy, manufacturers need infrastructure that allows exports to move efficiently and affordably. Expanding ports and related infrastructure will allow us to meet national export goals while creating jobs. However, I am concerned by what appear to be efforts to use the environmental review process to delay and possibly block the expansion of new ports by requiring a "cumulative, programmatic" environmental review for the Gateway project that includes a broad-ranging analysis of impacts from all proposed coal export projects not only in Washington but in the Pacific Northwest.
Expanding the Gateway Pacific Terminal project’s environmental review would be a dramatic policy shift that has the real potential to undermine national goals to boost exports. By expanding this focus to include the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of the cargo (and all similar cargo transported through the region), the Corps could be laying the foundation for similar exercises for just about any infrastructure project to transport any type of cargo. For example, what if the cargo at issue was not coal but cars, or tractors, or even airplanes? Would the Corps need to perform a Programmatic EIS to determine the lifecycle environmental impact of that cargo? What if the cargo was an agricultural or animal product; should methane emissions be considered? The possibilities are endless and deeply troubling to manufacturers and their employees.
Manufacturers support investments in private infrastructure projects that improve the nation's transportation and export capacity while also meeting established environmental standards. Under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), these standards are met through an analysis of each project's environmental impact and any mitigation that might be needed to ensure proper economic and environmental harmony. They are not met by performing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Corps is only compelled to perform a Programmatic EIS when it develops a proposal for legislation or implement a program or policy that may itself result in significant environmental effects when implemented. Neither of those situations exists for the Gateway Pacific Terminal project.
Expanding the Gateway Pacific Terminal will generate millions of dollars in economic output in Washington and the northwest and create 4,400 jobs in the region during its two year construction phase and create over 1,250 long term jobs in the community. The long term economic benefit to this area is estimated to be $129 million annually. These are badly-needed jobs that are unlikely to be created if the project is subjected to the type of boundless, limitless environmental review currently being considered by the Corps.
I strongly urge the Corps not to expand its NEPA analysis beyond the individual, project-specific review required under the statute.