Both the State of Oregon and Washington have been experiencing budget gaps exceeding $1 Billion for the last few years. While we have remained mired in this ongoing “Great Recession,” both states continue to struggle with issues of decreasing revenues while also moving ahead on wasteful spending projects, addressing Public Union contracts and a growingly frustrated private sector depending on entitlements to survive, unable to find viable employment.
At such severe economic times as we have seen since 2008, one would think growing private sector jobs to rebuild lost revenues would be a paramount duty. But not so with both states under heavy control of the Democrat Party.
Oh, they pay a lot of lip service on job creation, usually mentioning “Green Energy” jobs that rely on revenues to remain in business or be created. But when push comes to shove and massive job growth stares them in the face, they turn away.
Sad to see, but from Barack Obama on down and all across America, potential well-paying jobs have not been created due to government foot dragging, environmental over-concerns and simple short-sightedness.
While the struggling middle class faces the highest sustained energy prices seen in our country and with unemployment and underemployment unreasonably high, millions of jobs sit in limbo while politicians drag their feet over coal exports, opening up known oil and gas reserves for recovery and building the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta Canada to the Gulf of Mexico where Canadian Shale Oil would be refined by American middle class workers and exported to other countries in need.
In the Pacific Northwest currently it is Coal Exports to Asia that has become the target of those opposed to letting middle class workers regain decent wage jobs in the private sector.
With plans to construct newer export terminals in both states, you would think the governors of both states would gladly accept those newly created jobs and begin recovering from the economic morass both states have been mired in now for 5 years or more. But not so with both Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon.
Even though numerous studies have shown claimed dangers along the rail routes coal trains would take to arrive at the terminals are overblown, both Governors have taken it upon themselves to request additional studies, not American use of coal, but potential dangers of countries like India and China using coal.
In a letter to the Council of Environmental Quality asking the White House to “investigate the climate impact of exporting coal.”
In their request they state a need for a “full public airing of the consequences of substantial new investments in coal generation and the infrastructure to transport coal, extending the world’s reliance on this fuel for decades.”
Pushing back, the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, an “Alliance of companies, labor, civic and other organizations who understand the importance of exports to our region and want to strengthen our trade economy” issued their own statement today, March 26, 2013.
In the statement, Lauri Hennessey, spokeswoman for the trade advocacy group said, “Just last week the U.S. Senate voted to oppose any new requirement or regulation that federal agencies account for greenhouse gas emissions in their analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Such a requirement could be particularly damaging to the Northwest, where trade and exports are so vital to the local economy.”
Mike Elliott, Spokesman for the Washington State Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) added, “We have always been and remain committed to making these projects a reality. We will continue working with the Oregon and Washington Governors towards the best outcome for these multi-commodity facilities.”
Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business says, “Existing federal law requires exhaustive environmental review of development projects to ensure that our environment is protected. In addition, Washington has some of the most stringent environmental standards in the nation and every project must meet or exceed those standards in order to go forward. Imposing additional, unwarranted and unnecessary regulatory burdens in an attempt to derail a particular project would set a dangerous precedent that will jeopardize our state’s economic future. We continue to support a balanced approach that ensures both environmental protection and economic opportunity.”
Both governor’s, with the support of far leftist Senators like Oregon’s Ron Wyden throw us out of balance by demanding time consuming studies that block construction of the terminals while at the same time, both advocate a multi-Billion dollar boondoggle bridge project to replace the current functional bridge spans between the two states on Interstate 5 that people on both sides of the river continue to say we do not want.
We don’t need decades, if not generations of debt, tax increases, tolls on top of tolls and other forms of repayment to be heaped on the backs of struggling middle class workers while these two governors obstruct real job creation.
Both advocate “Green Energy” sources like windmills, even though windmills have been shown to also be overly expensive, unreliable and inefficient, a Spanish study indicating the loss of two jobs for every job created.
Can we forget Representative Robert Kennedy Jr. breezing into our town years ago to preach against the use of coal while at the same time standing opposed to the construction of a wind farm in his own backyard of Nantucket Sound where they would remain reliant upon gas and coal fired electricity plants?
But the importance now is jobs. We need jobs so people can not only care for themselves and their families, but rebuild state coffers for legislators that can’t seem to get their overspending under control.
Asian countries have decided they will bring lower cost electricity to remote regions of their countries and increase their manufacturing base by using coal. If the concern really is the environment, doesn’t it make more sense for them to be able to purchase and use America’s low sulfur coal than forcing them buy higher sulfur coal mined in other regions?
We need to demand both Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon and Governor Inslee of Washington State to stop working against the struggling middle class and allow us to return to decent wage jobs in the private sector.
Their efforts at foot dragging on job creation must be opposed.