Monthly Archives: July 2014

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    Ranker: Decision to re-route Anacortes ferry to Edmonds “short-sighted”

Ranker: Decision to re-route Anacortes ferry to Edmonds “short-sighted”

July 31st, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the statement below Thursday morning urging Washington State Ferries to reverse its decision to move a ferry from the Sidney route to replace a broken down ferry in another route:

“I have nothing but sympathy for our fellow ferry commuters south of us; we know all too well the frustration, negative economic impact and wasted time that comes from delayed ferry service.

“There are major differences, however, that make this decision by senior administration at Washington State Ferries disappointing and short-sighted.  First, while our friends to the south are experiencing significant and unacceptable delays, they at least still have service.  The removal of this vessel from the Anacortes/Sidney Route does not just cause horrible delays, it cancels the entire route! Let me be clear, there will be no service between Anacortes and Sidney for at least two days. This at the beginning of not only a busy, sunny summer weekend, but on the weekend of the 53rd annual Anacortes Art Festival – the biggest economic driver in the city every year.

“The idea that we would cancel an entire run – that already had reservations – and severely impact state and local commerce, demonstrates a total lack of understanding of the economic drivers that depend upon this service. 

“Historically, when a ferry is down elsewhere in the system, replacement ferries have come from the San Juan route.  During the winter, while there is an impact, I have supported these decisions, because we have lower ridership and can – for the most part – absorb the impact.  In the summer however, this is not the case. To simply end the Sidney run during an extremely busy and economically lucrative part of the year is, quite frankly, irresponsible. 

“As frustrating as this is, after speaking with Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, I am confident that together with Representatives Jeff Morris and Kris Lytton we can work with the Secretary to ensure the development of a processes that will allow us to be prepared for problems and have appropriate and thoughtful strategies in place to get out in front of a potential crisis.”

“Finally, the fact that we have more and more vessels out of service is a clear indicator that we must move quickly to complete construction of the three new 144 car ferries. Even more to the point, however, is that this further underscores the critical need for the legislature to pass a transportation package that will improve our clearly struggling ferry system as well as other sorely needed infrastructure improvements throughout our state.”

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    Sen. Ranker’s term as Pacific NorthWest Economic Region President comes to a close

Sen. Ranker’s term as Pacific NorthWest Economic Region President comes to a close

July 23rd, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker’s one-year term as President of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region came to a close Wednesday during a ceremony in Whistler, British Columbia with the formal passing of the gavel to the organization’s incoming President David Ramsey.

Ranker, who represents the 40th Legislative District in the Washington State Senate, said he plans to remain heavily involved in PNWER and looks forward to the leadership of Ramsey, who also serves as Northwest Territories Minister of Justice and Industry, Tourism, and Investment, as well as Minister responsible for the NWT Public Utilities Board.

“PNWER is the best example there is of what can be accomplished when states, provinces and countries work together to advance the goals of their governments, businesses and their people,” Ranker said. “It was an absolute honor and privilege to serve as President of such an exemplary organization that will only continue to thrive under President Ramsey’s leadership.

“My time with PNWER is far from over. I will do everything I can to continue to maximize the potential of our beautiful corner of the world for the betterment of our district, our state and our country.”

During his term as President, Ranker’s achievements for PNWER included:

  • The first ever Climate and Energy Dialogue in Banff, Alberta where for the first time representatives from all ten PNWER jurisdictions discussed ways to work together toward lowering carbon emissions.
  • PNWER’s third Arctic Forum at the Capital Building in Washington, DC was attended by many PNWER members and the entire Alaskan Congressional delegation.
  • PNWER’s Sixth Annual Legislative Leadership Academy in Banff, Alberta which helps leaders in both countries understand the practical differences between U.S. and Canadian politics and government.
  • PNWER’s continued input from regional stakeholders to both federal governments for the Beyond the Border Initiative and Regulatory Cooperation Council announced by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in February 2011.
  • The expansion of the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute (LEHI) certificate program from a two-year course to an annual program. The program is designed for legislators to understand the functionality of the region’s energy infrastructure.

“Sen. Ranker has been an outstanding leader for the state of Washington, and has put an outstanding effort into working regionally to find solutions to cross-border issues,” said PNWER Executive Director Matt Morrison.

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 in the two years leading up to his election as PNWER’s President.

The PNWER president heads the executive committee, which is the decision-making body of PNWER. The president also represents the organization in annual visits to Washington, D.C., Ottawa, and state and provincial capitals within the region. The PNWER president and vice-president must be elected officials. These two posts alternate annually between elected legislators from the United States and Canada.

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    Sens. Ranker, Rolfes request full disclosure of all shipments of Bakken crude oil transported through Washington communities

Sens. Ranker, Rolfes request full disclosure of all shipments of Bakken crude oil transported through Washington communities

July 3rd, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, and Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, sent a letter to the heads of two major American railroad companies as well as U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting comprehensive reports of ALL shipments of volatile Bakken crude oil anticipated to be transported through Washington state be made available to first responders and impacted communities.

The letter follows a recent decision by US transportation officials that requires rail companies to disclose shipments of a million gallons or more of Bakken crude.

“That’s a start, but it doesn’t go far enough,” Ranker said. “Disaster after disaster has shown us that safeguards must be put in place so that if the worst-case scenario does come to pass, our first responders are ready to act.”

The letter urges the USDOT to lower the threshold from a million gallons, stating that, “shipments on a train of any less than about 35 rail tank cars need not be included, yet several recent derailments and spills and/or explosions of crude oil involved fewer tank cars while causing considerable damage.

“An incident involving release and ignition of Bakken crude from even one rail car could potentially cause the loss of life and severe damage in some of our densely populated communities…”

In fact more oil has been spilled from trains in 2013 than in the previous 37 years combined.

“These trains run through the heart of our communities,” Rolfes said. “Public safety is one of the top priorities of state government and recent derailments and disasters throughout the U.S. are a constant reminder that oil trains are a very real threat to the public good.”

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.