Monthly Archives: July 2013

Sen. Ranker pleased with decision to conduct comprehensive environmental impact study of proposed Cherry Point coal terminal project

July 31st, 2013|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the statement below following the decision to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact study should the coal export terminal project at Cherry Point move forward:

“This is exactly the decision we have been seeking for several years now since we wrote the first comment letter on this subject. There are significant questions regarding this project and by the time this study is concluded we should have a much greater understanding of the long- and short-term impacts of all aspects of this terminal.

“From the beginning, we have wanted to know the effect on our environment, public safety, traffic and other commerce of shipping the coal from the mine to the terminal, the impact of shipping the coal from the terminal to its final destination and the imprint consumption of this coal will have. This process will get us much closer to having those answers.

“I applaud the Dept. of Ecology and Whatcom County for hearing our concerns and beginning the task of answering the questions many of us have surrounding this project.”

Plan to name Skagit River Bridge in honor of fallen Trooper approved by WSTC

July 30th, 2013|

A plan to honor fallen State Patrol Trooper Sean M. O’Connell Jr. was approved Tuesday during a meeting of the Washington State Transportation Commission in Seattle.

The WSTC approved a request from 40th legislative district legislators Sen. Kevin Ranker and Reps. Jeff Morris and Kristine Lytton to name the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge the Trooper Sean M. O’Connell Jr. Memorial Bridge.

A portion of the bridge collapsed in May and Trooper O’Connell, 38, was killed in a traffic accident while directing traffic through detours setup as a result of the collapse.

“Trooper O’Connell represents the best our state has to offer,” Ranker said. “Naming the bridge in his honor is the least we can do to say thank you to him, his family and friends for his service and sacrifice to our state and its citizens.”

In addition to the letter sent from the 40th District contingent, the WTSC also received letters of support to honor Trooper O’Connell from Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau, Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton, Co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee Sen. Tracey Eide, Chief of the Washington State Patrol John Batiste, the Regional Administrator of the Washington State Department of Transportation, Lorena Eng, and the Skagit County Commissioners.

"The Commission unanimously and enthusiastically agreed to name the bridge for Trooper O’Connell,” said Dan O’Neal, Chairman of the Washington State Transportation Commission. “I can’t think of a more fitting tribute."

Sen. Ranker elected President of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region

July 17th, 2013|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, was elected President on Wednesday of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) at the organization’s Annual Summit in Anchorage, AK.

Formed in 1991, PNWER is a non-partisan, public-private partnership that includes Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories in Canada; and Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana in the United States. The regional partnership of 10 U.S. states and Canadian provinces works to increase the economic well-being, coordinate energy, economic and environmental strategies and enhance the competitiveness of the region. The partnership represents a combined regional GDP of $1 trillion.

Ranker was first appointed as the delegate from Washington State to PNWER in 2010. He served as the organization’s vice president the last two years.

"I am humbled, I am honored, and above all else – I am excited,” Ranker said. “I believe there are incredible opportunities before us in this region and I believe PNWER is the organization that is positioned to ensure we maximize each of these opportunities. PNWER is about bringing together every perspective: public, private, NGO’s, to advance our shared goals and help craft regional solutions to global challenges. Here there are people united in working toward a common goal of doing what’s best for our region and its citizens.

"We must all continue to work together and lead the rest of the world by our example. We can do this if we stay true to the principles of cooperation and compromise which have guided us for more than two decades.

“I’m excited to continue to bring the priorities of the 40th district and Washington State to this critical regional and national discussion.”

The PNWER president heads the executive committee, which is the decision-making body of PNWER. The president also represents the organization in numerous visits to both nation’s capitals, as well as state and provincial meetings throughout the region.

Matt Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of PNWER, said the organization was pleased to welcome the senator to his new role.

"Kevin Ranker has contributed much to the organization over the past two years in his role as vice-president," Morrison said. "We look forward to a year of significant achievements under his leadership, at a time when United States-Canada issues are extremely important, and this region is being looked to for solutions."

40th legislative district delegation: “Capital budget will pump tens of millions of dollars and family-wage jobs into our local economy”

July 2nd, 2013|

Sen. Kevin Ranker and Reps. Jeff Morris and Kristine Lytton issued the statement below following Gov. Jay Inslee’s signing of the capital budget (Senate Bill 5035) Monday afternoon:

"With all the controversy surrounding the much-delayed state operating budget, the passage of another important budget — the capital, or construction, budget — has flown under the radar during the past few weeks. That’s understandable, but the capital budget is a big win for our 40th district and for the entire northwest Washington region.

"This capital budget will pump tens of millions of dollars and many family-wage jobs into our local economy, thanks to projects that include habitat restoration in Bellingham Bay, renovation of the San Juan Island School District’s STEM building, major preservation upgrades at Western Washington University, renewal work at the Bellingham Center for Performing Arts, Mount Vernon flood protection improvements, construction at Skagit Valley Community College, much-needed work at Baker View Family Housing and South Whatcom Library at Sudden Valley, and the next phase of the Guemes Trail project from the ferry all the way out to Highway 20.

"Not only will these projects contribute to the already outstanding quality of life in our area, they also create good jobs for construction workers who have seen their sector of the economy — and their families — suffer during the Great Recession. The capital budget is a welcome example of good bipartisan work for the betterment of our state, and the three of us were proud to work together to bring these projects to our district."