AWB urges county council to rethink opposition to coal trains

From a press release:

The Association of Washington Business called on members of the King County Council to reconsider its proposed resolution opposing billions of dollars in investments in area ports. AWB, the state’s largest business organization, opposed the resolution, as did numerous local labor unions.

“As other U.S. and Canadian ports make major investments to capitalize on the growing opportunity of Asian markets, Washington’s elected leaders are turning their backs on billions of dollars in new private investment to grow trade and export opportunities for Washington,” said Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business.

The council has debated internally over alternatives to the resolution considered today, and numerous local labor unions have spoken out against the resolution.

“The Washington State Building Trades support the construction of new bulk-commodity terminals, and accordingly oppose the county’s resolution considered today,” said Dave Myers, Executive Secretary of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council. “Expanding Washington’s ports will create thousands of construction jobs in our region, and support new exports for other commodities, supporting Washington’s agriculture, timber, and aluminum industry to name a few. The proposed terminals are an opportunity to bring back industrial and manufacturing jobs in Washington State."

Brunell concluded, “We need to be aggressive in expanding trade to support living-wage, skilled-labor jobs for local railroad workers that transport coal and other commodities safely through our region, and we need to work collaboratively toward that goal.”

The resolution comes on the heels of a month of national headlines critical of Washington’s increasingly obstructionist policies limiting trade opportunities for the Northwest. First, Attorneys General from neighboring states issued a letter opposing Washington’s unprecedented environmental review announced for trade and export facilities; more recently the National Association of Manufacturers found Washington’s review process may be in violation of WTO rules governing fair trade.

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