Washington state’s environmental regulations are some of the strongest in the world. This state holds industry to such high environmental standards that many companies avoid Washington altogether for their industrial operations.
The recent controversy around Tacoma’s proposed methanol plant proves that the environmental impact statement process continues to be relevant, even though the matters addressed in it would still be regulated if the EIS didn’t exist or if no one read it.
In the 1970s, when the EIS process was introduced, environmental regulations were fewer and weaker. Back then the EIS was sometimes the only safety net for the community. Since that’s not true anymore, why read or write an EIS? The recent controversy shows why.
The EIS may help some understand that this a good project: how it reduces global carbon emissions using smart technology, how it can accomplish this safely, and how the water and power consumption stack up against those of other industries.
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Reading the EIS may help some to understand why our governor – viewed as an environmental radical by many in industry – supports this project and why the plant will be safest if it’s built here in Washington where our regulations are tougher than virtually anywhere else.