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    Takko responds to delay of Kalama Manufacturing & Marine Export Facility

Takko responds to delay of Kalama Manufacturing & Marine Export Facility

November 27th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – After the state Department of Ecology announced that additional environmental review would be required for the proposed Kalama Manufacturing & Marine Export Facility, Sen. Dean Takko (D-Longview) sent the following letter to Gov. Jay Inslee:

Dear Governor Jay Inslee,

I am writing to express my dismay with the way the Department of Ecology has managed the permitting process of the proposed Kalama Manufacturing & Marine Export Facility, a project of great importance to my constituents in the 19th Legislative District, to the whole state, nation, and across the globe.

I was proud to join with you in support of this project when it began its environmental review process nearly five years ago. Together, we recognized the unprecedented and uniquely promising opportunity that this project provided to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and bring much needed jobs to Southwest Washington. By aligning with your vision to combat climate change, I was optimistic we had finally struck a balance to unite the interests of rural Washington, labor, and environmental advocates.

Your decision to reverse your position on the project was a blow to me and the people of my district. For decades, our community has been left out of the economic prosperity experienced by much of the rest of the state. Environmental policies enforced by your administration have continually told the people of my district what we cannot do. Beleaguering this project despite its overwhelming practical and environmental benefits sends a clear message that the needs of the people of Southwest Washington are not a concern for your administration.

The overwhelming defeat of challengers in the Port District Commissioner’s race who attempted to make this last election a referendum on the project should dispel any claims of local opposition. Outsiders are having too much influence on decisions for our community.

Regardless of your personal position, I had hoped the Department of Ecology would continue its review impartially and stick to the facts. What has become clear is the Department is not committed to an honest process. In response to the Department’s letter of October 9th, 2019, demanding additional information related to the project and its mitigation plan, Cowlitz County provided detailed answers to questions but also outlined a troubling narrative of the Department failing to engage meaningfully with SEPA lead officials and project stakeholders and not respecting local autonomy.

Among several disconcerting facts, the County details how the Department “evaded requests from the applicant, the port authority and the County to meet to discuss any lingering or additional concerns or comments by the agency on this draft mitigation plan prior to or after publication of the SEIS. Instead the County was surreptitiously confronted with an uncompromising 30-day, shot clock letter or threat of stalemating the permitting process.” Further, according to the County the demands raised in the Department’s letter were “either beyond what both SEPA or the SMA require, or have already been provided or answered within the SEIS document and attachments. This, in turn, raises concerns whether Ecology undertook a thorough and adequate review of the information provided by the County before tendering its letter.”

The County’s response goes on to reiterate findings from the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that the project would reduce upwards of 14.10 million metric tons of direct and indirect emissions annually, drawing upon an impressive body of research to detail the benefit of displacing coal derived methanol in China used in imported products such as clothing and electronics. That amount of emissions would exceed the combined reductions from the shutdown of Colstrip units 1 and 2, the shutdown of TransAlta, and all of Sound Transit 3.

I find it outrageous that a project of this magnitude that will make a significant contribution to addressing climate change while bringing powerful economic benefits to a struggling region would be treated with such disregard by the Department. It is even more stunning because the project applicant, Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW), has been exceedingly forthcoming and has made commitments for environmental protections which go above and beyond that of any other industrial entity in the state. These include:

  • Voluntary adoption of more expensive technology and engineering systems to be a zero waste-water discharge facility;
  • Voluntary adoption of first-of-its-kind Ultra Low Emission (ULE) technology;
  • A contractual obligation in its permit to ensure that 100% of its methanol is used for the manufacture of materials aimed at displacing coal-based methanol-to-materials pathways and does not get used in less clean applications;
  • Whether or not the Washington State Supreme Court’s upholds the Clean Air Rule, the facility will adhere to the requirements as specified in its Shoreline Conditional Use Permit;
  • A commitment to sourcing 1,000 MMBtu of renewable natural gas from landfills and dairy digesters, beginning on day one of operations and to scale upwards from there; and
  • A commitment to be 100% Greenhouse Gas Neutral starting on day one by adopting a mitigation plan to offset all of the company’s Washington State emissions, including those not directly attributable to facility operations. For comparison, the 100% Clean Electricity Bill passed last year would require GHG neutrality by the year 2030 for electric utilities.

My district is struggling to transition to the economy of the future. This project is unique and allows us to be a meaningful part of the solution to address climate change while creating family wage jobs. The announcement last Friday by the Department of Ecology to require a second SEIS which will further delay the project for at least another year or more is one more blow to my district. The Department’s announcement failed to explain with satisfying specificity why a second SEIS was necessary or how it would factor into an eventual permit decision. The Department will not point to a net benefit number that would result in either approval or denial of the permit, because there is no state law that defines this decision point. Rather than recognize the sufficiency and full spectrum of the analyses presented, the Department has once again decided to engage in tactics that put politics over science. This is a disastrous precedent that sends a chilling message to anyone looking to create manufacturing jobs in the state of Washington

The folks from Seattle and Portland who drive to my district and lecture us in town halls to say no to this project and hold out for some mythical job they deem acceptable are selling false hope. It’s ironic because the Kalama project was once held up as the better alternative to coal export terminals, before these same people changed their minds. How is NWIW, or any another company contemplating a project in Southwest Washington supposed to trust the state to treat them fairly? The Department’s decision is a cowardly swipe at our ambition to bring prosperity back to Southwest Washington. It compounds the difficulties of the people I represent who fear yet another opportunity for a brighter economic future is slipping away. We need jobs now!

Further, to side with opponents who argue that a delay is good for the environment is to embrace a profound intellectual dishonesty about where the products we use every day come from and how they are made. Olefins and artificial materials are essential components in phones, the fibers in sports jackets, and solar panels. We should not turn a blind eye to the reality of our consumption. Whether we build this facility here or not, our state’s economy will continue to rely on these materials and consumers will continue to demand them. What will change is these materials will be sourced from locations with far lower labor and environmental standards.

I expect us to do better. It is my request that you provide the necessary leadership to work with the Department to recognize the unique nature of this project and immediately change course to reengage in the spirit of urgency and collaboration to support its completion and maximize its potential economic and environmental benefits. My district cannot wait any longer.

Sincerely,

Senator Dean Takko
Democrat
19th Legislative District

2019 Session Report

June 11th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Now that we’ve finished the legislative session–with the first on-time budget in a decade–I’m glad to report back to you about what we have been working on this year. Ever since I came to Olympia, I’ve been focused on making sure the 19th District has a strong voice in our state government.

This year, we made important investments that will pay off for us and for our children and grandchildren. We invested in special education in schools, better mental health care, scholarships for those who can’t afford college, and a major new forest health and wildfire suppression and
prevention program.

Two bills I’m particularly proud of sponsoring and passing this year will prepare our state government for natural disasters. I grew up between the mouth of the Columbia River and Aberdeen. That’s ground zero for the Cascadia Subduction Zone. No one wants to think of a big earthquake
coming, but we’re past due. If the worst does come, these bills will allow us to have a functional government when people will need help the most.

In addition, I’m very happy that the capital construction budget funds $98 million in projects in communities across our district. A few highlights include:

• $4.4 million for fish habitat restoration along the Grays River, Fossil Creek, Harlow’s Creek, Lower Satsop River, and Rue Creek
• $814,000 for culvert replacement along Delameter Creek and King Creek
• $1.03 million to improve Tam O’Shanter Park
• $1 million to modernize the Port of Ilwaco Boatyard
• $705,000 to renovate a new space for the police station in Long Beach
• $500,000 for Gateway Center in Grays Harbor
• $165,000 to restore the Cathlamet Pioneer Building

It is an honor to represent you in the Legislature. Please reach out anytime. The more I hear from you, the better our work in Olympia can reflect our shared values.

All my best,

Senator Dean Takko

House passes Takko natural disaster bills

April 17th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington State House of Representatives voted today to pass two measures to ensure governmental continuity in the event of a natural disaster.

Senate Bill 5012, sponsored by Sen. Dean Takko (D-Longview), expands the Continuity of Government Act to apply to natural catastrophes and requires the Washington Military Department to develop a program for state and local government agencies to plan for such events. Current law provides for continuity of government only in the event of enemy attack.

“I grew up between the mouth of the Columbia River and Aberdeen. That’s ground zero for the Cascadia Subduction Zone,” said Takko. “We hate to think of a big earthquake coming, but we’re past due for one. If the worst does come and we have an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or tsunami, this measure will allow us to have a functional government when people will need help the most.

“Last year, this issue got hung up on the last day of session. I’m glad that the House has moved earlier this year.”

SB 5012 passed by a vote of 90-8.

Because the state constitution allows the Legislature to provide for the continuity of government only in case of enemy attack, a constitutional amendment is also necessary. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds supermajority in both houses and approval by a majority of voters.

Senate Joint Resolution 8200 proposes an amendment to Article II section 42 of the state constitution to authorize the Legislature to enact these measures to ensure continuity of government during natural catastrophes. It passed by a vote of 91-7.

Having received a minor amendment in the House, SB 5012 now returns to the Senate for reconsideration. SJR 8200 has passed the Legislature and will go to the ballot in the next state general election for a vote of the people.

For this Washington’s sake, stop this trade war

February 28th, 2019|

From the Longview Daily News

The federal government’s trade policy is kicking our state’s economy in the teeth.

Our prosperity here in southwest Washington has always been built on natural resources — from the timber industry that first brought settlers to Aberdeen, to fishing and crabbing along the Columbia River and in Willapa Bay.

What many people don’t realize is that we’re also the gateway to Asia for exports from all across Washington. You can’t get wheat from the Palouse to the huge market in China without shipping it through Longview or Kalama or Vancouver.

In fact, right now, you can’t get our wheat to that huge market in China at all. Thanks to the tariff war started by President Trump, Washington-grown wheat exports to China plummeted from 270,000 metric tons in 2017 to zero since May of last year. In 2017 alone, Washington wheat exported to China was worth $67.5 million, and the total value of all wheat shipped to China through southwest Washington ports was $248 million.

Wheat and barley farming supports more than 11,000 jobs in Washington. What happens to those jobs as this trade war escalates and threatens the health of our wheat industry? And that’s just the beginning. There’s also the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of exports of cherries, apples, dairy, and soybeans. And the list goes on.

It’s not just our dryland farmers that are in danger. Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the Union, with 40 percent of our jobs tied to trade.

China is the second-largest consumer of Washington seafood, buying more than $154 million worth in 2017. That’s a big haul of salmon, Dungeness crab, and clams, a lot of it caught and processed in the 19th District. Westport is consistently one of the top 20 ports in the nation for commercial seafood landings, but now this important industry is threatened. Since Trump’s trade war started, China has retaliated with a 25-percent tariff on American seafood.

Around here, we all know how damaging overactive state regulators can be to our shellfish harvest. I’ve been fighting that battle on behalf of Pacific County’s shellfish farmers, and we’re forcing the state to listen and to respect the thousands of family-wage jobs that those farmers support.

We have to keep our eye out for other threats to our economy and our way of life, no matter where they come from. A trade policy run by whim is a dangerous thing to the regular people of the 19th who have to plan their lives, run their businesses, and pay their federal income tax.

My colleagues and I have introduced a measure in the state Senate calling on President Trump and Congress to stop this destructive trade war. They should suspend the new tariffs they have imposed on Chinese trade goods, stop the posturing, and work on a long-term trade agreement that will allow Washington to resume the trade that has been needlessly and recklessly interrupted.

It’s time to re-open the gates.

Dean Takko is a resident of Longview and is the Democratic state senator for the 19th Legislative District.

https://tdn.com/opinion/editorial/for-this-washington-s-sake-stop-this-trade-war/article_8d8b3326-2af6-5e87-ad4e-ea42523a0611.html

Senate passes Takko legislation to boost tourism statewide

February 12th, 2018|

Bipartisan legislation establishing a new statewide Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) passed the Washington state Senate Saturday.

The bill would direct the group to develop and implement a statewide tourism-marketing plan to drive tourism dollars to all parts of the state.

“The natural and diverse beauty found in every corner of Washington, from Wahkiakum to Pend Oreille, is unrivaled,” said Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview and sponsor of Senate Bill 5251. “The economic boom in the Puget Sound continues to bring in new residents and visitors from around our country and the world. This legislation will encourage our new neighbors, and many more, to explore the wonders of our state, all the while bringing much-needed dollars into rural communities.”

Washington state closed its tourism office in 2011 to cut costs during the Great Recession. Currently, Washington is the only state in the country without a coordinate tourism program.

“Our state has so much to offer when it comes to tourism opportunities,” said Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “Tourism done this way is an export that benefits local communities directly. It benefits small retailers, outdoor recreation, state parks, and ultimately the taxpayers of Washington. This is an innovative way for the private sector and government to collaborate and bring needed investment to all areas of our state.”

The WTMA would be funded by directing 0.2 percent of retail sales taxes collected on lodgings, car rentals, and restaurants.

SB 5251 passed out of the Senate on a unanimous vote and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

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    Takko to chair Senate Local Government Committee in new Democratic majority

Takko to chair Senate Local Government Committee in new Democratic majority

November 15th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, will chair the Local Government Committee in the Washington State Senate. Securing a one-seat majority after a special election victory in Washington’s 45th Legislative District, Senate Democrats will now set the agenda for policy committees and floor voting in the coming session.

Now in his third year as a member of the Senate, Takko was selected by his colleagues to lead the Local Government Committee thanks to his record of accomplishment as an effective legislator and working to find hard-wrought compromise.

“We owe it to the people of Washington to lead by example and show what effective governance can do for our state,” said Takko. “I am committed to making the state a better partner with local governments and to reducing the barriers created by excessive bureaucracy. We can do better together.”

Takko will also serve as vice chair of the Senate Economic Development & Trade Committee and as a member of the Transportation Committee. During his tenure in the House, he also served as the chair of Local Government.

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    Legislation to encourage renewable energy use and rural development becomes law

Legislation to encourage renewable energy use and rural development becomes law

May 16th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today signed legislation encouraging the production of renewable energy at older, fire-generated biomass facilities.

Senate Bill 5128, sponsored by Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, will allow qualified mills to sell excess power generated by the burning of biomass, such as the fiber remains from timber or pulp, to local public utilities districts. The new law will help older facilities lower power costs by using renewable energy sources.

“When businesses make the effort to invest in renewable energy, we ought to find ways to meet them halfway and make it easier to operate at lower costs,” Takko said. “Allowing paper mills like Longview’s KapStone, which employs 1,100 people, to sell off excess power will help keep jobs in our rural communities.”

The law also creates a provision that power generated by biomass and purchased by local utilities districts qualify as renewable energy, ensuring compliance with Washington’s Energy Independence Act. Expanding the act to include biomass as eligible renewable energy in this way will encourage other facilities to make capital investments to retrofit older facilities.

“Thank you to the advocates, my colleagues in the Legislature and the governor for making this bill, years in the works, a reality,” said Takko.

SB 5128 passed unanimously from the Senate and on a 91-7 vote in the House of Representatives.

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    Senate capital budget proposes $7.7 million for South Bend school construction

Senate capital budget proposes $7.7 million for South Bend school construction

March 28th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – The South Bend School District would receive $7.7 million dollars for school construction projects in the 2017 capital budget proposed today by the Senate. The funds would be allotted as a part of a rural school grant program.

“Smaller rural school districts have historically faced barriers in the bond application process even when the need for our students is just as great as in other parts of the state,” said Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview. “I cannot thank the leaders in Pacific County who have advocated for this needed school bond enough; your voices made a difference in Olympia.”

In addition to new money for school construction, the proposed budget also includes dollars for completion of the Longview Shay Pavilion, dredging at the Westport Marina, parking improvements at the Tam O’Shanter Athletic Arena, and upgrades for the Naselle Hatchery, among others.

The proposal will be heard before the Senate Ways & Means Committee this afternoon.

19th LD Telephone Town Hall – March 28

March 24th, 2017|

Who – 19th Legislative District State Senator Dean Takko & State Representative Brian Blake.

What – Telephone town hall meeting.

When – 6:05– 7:05 PM Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

Where – Calls will go out to thousands of homes throughout the 19th Legislative District. Residents will be able to listen live and speak with their lawmakers. Those who do not receive a call can participate by dialing 877-229-8493 and entering the ID Code 116278.

Alternatively, the telephone town hall can be live-streamed:

http://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=16278

Or people can sign up to reserve a line:

https://vekeo.com/whdc19/

Why – To provide constituents with the opportunity to ask questions on issues ranging from education funding, healthcare and public safety to transportation, the economy and the state budgets.

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    ‘Levy cliff’ extension gives districts certainty, Legislature must now fund McCleary

‘Levy cliff’ extension gives districts certainty, Legislature must now fund McCleary

March 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Responding to the passage of Senate Bill 5023, which averts the largest cut to Washington public schools in state history, Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, released the following statement:

“I’ve heard from parents, teachers, and school administrators loud and clear that we could not wait any longer to give our school districts the certainty they need to budget for the coming school year.

“Although I wish we could have passed this bill weeks ago, I am glad we’ve come to resolution on the ‘levy cliff’ so we can give the full attention of the Legislature to fairly funding Washington’s schools.

“We cannot waste one more minute to give our kids every opportunity they deserve.”