Policy Today podcast: Expanded state environmental regulations threaten union jobs

Today's topic is the expanded state environmental regulations that, due to their arbitrary and excessive nature, threaten to send good-paying jobs - many of them union jobs - out of Washington state. We briefly discuss our recent Special Report on this topic ("The Expanded SEPA Has Reduced Regulatory Certainty in Washington"), then talk with Larry Brown, Legislative & Political Director of Aerospace Machinists Union District Lodge 751, about how the state's actions are negatively affecting union jobs.

Larry notes that for projects such as proposed coal export facilities in Longview and Whatcom County, and a proposed oil export facility in Vancouver, Washington, very good jobs are at risk:

We would love to see some effective public policy with respect to reducing the greenhouse gasses and reducing our carbon footprint. Unfortunately this is symbolic and is not going to stop China from burning coal. It’s merely going to prevent us from benefiting – as far as the jobs are concerned and the business is concerned – from that coal.

He says that in contrast to the four or five-year process these projects have been through in Washington, just across the border in Canada (which competes with Washington state for these types of facilities),

In Canada there is an 18-month clock that when a project is proposed, that a decision will be rendered within 18 months. I think that that’s fair. If you can’t figure out whether or not a project should be approved within 18 months, that’s ridiculous. We just think that there should be time certain in terms of the amount of time it takes to approve or not approve on these projects.

This is private investment money that we’re asking private investors to put on the line. I mean, they’ve spent tens of millions of dollars in this approval process that just stretched on for what seems like I’m sure for them forever. And these jobs are needed in that community.

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