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Labor Blasts State Coal-Port Permit Plan – Calls it ‘Radical Environmental Economic Imperialism’ Union Leaders Denounce Apparent Inslee-Administration Plan to Use Environmental Permit to Block Coal-Port Projects – Say it Won’t Prevent Climate Change

September 27, 2013 J

OLYMPIA, Sept. 25. – Union officials delivered a blast Wednesday on what appears to be an Inslee-Administration plan to use the environmental permitting process to block coal shipping from the state of Washington.

The state’s unprecedented decision, which would “evaluate” the impact of coal exports to the Far East on the global climate, could spike a pair of proposed port facilities in Longview and the Bellingham area. The tactic ought to disturb anyone concerned about jobs and the economy, said Herb Krohn of the Sheet Metal, Air and Rail Transportation Workers Union. The decision “has the potential to bring all future industrial development to a halt in our state,” he said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

“If this project is blocked, in fact if we were to block all exportation of coal today, it would not prevent the nations of the Far East who seek their own economic development from burning one lump of coal. They would simply buy and burn coal from other countries, coal that is significantly more damaging to the environment, while we lose more middle-class union jobs across America.”

Krohn, the union’s Washington-state legislative director, was joined in Washington, D.C. by John Risch, SMART’s national legislative director, and Jeffrey Soth, the Washington legislative and political director for the International Union of Operating Engineers.  The Inslee Administration’s decision to write a wide-ranging environmental review has cheered the Sierra Club and other green activist organizations in their campaign to block the use of fossil fuels. But it has left business and labor aghast, and it has driven a wedge into the traditional coalition of environmental groups and unions on the Democratic side of the aisle.

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