August 4, 2016
By Willy Myers, executive secretary-treasurer of the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council.
Washington is fortunate to be home to so much innovation and prosperity. And yet there’s unease for the future among many working in traditionally blue-collar professions.
People have told me they are concerned about being left behind and question whether there’s a place for them in the current economy. We’ve all certainly heard it in the campaign rhetoric. We’ve seen it on the faces of our family, friends and neighbors who are reaching for their share of the American dream.
All candidates running for office say they support job creation and will advocate for opportunities to grow the economy. I have often heard that Washington needs to attract “world-class” jobs and talent, and the Vancouver Energy terminal will do just that. Vancouver Energy will be a state-of-the-art facility designed with best-in-class technology. This will attract the jobs and talent we are looking for. And, I can assure you, blue-collar jobs are world-class jobs filled by many of our talented building trades.
The oil-by-rail terminal will benefit the state by bringing jobs, tax revenue and a stable supply of North American crude for refineries in Washington and all along the West Coast. The terminal will create 320 full-time, family-wage jobs during construction. Once it’s operational, Vancouver Energy will support nearly 1,000 jobs through on- and off-site positions, contract work and spin-off activities.
Vancouver Energy has also worked with state and federal regulators to make certain that the crude oil is transported and handled safely and securely. In many cases, Vancouver Energy’s safety and mitigation procedures will exceed industry guidelines.
This is the moment of reckoning for state decision makers – and in particular for Gov. Jay Inslee as he decides whether to allow the Vancouver Energy terminal to move forward. Do we want to be a state that supports a diverse employment base and recognizes the value and contributions that all workers make?
Now is the time for people to show their support for economic opportunity for all. I urge Gov. Inslee to approve the Vancouver Energy terminal. It is good for the state. It is good for skilled workers and tradespeople. And it is good for the economy.