Rep. Overstreet, environmentalists raise doubts on Inslee's plan for Boeing incentives

Posted by JOHN STARK on November 8, 2013 

State Rep. Jason Overstreet, R-42nd, is not impressed with Gov. Jay Inslee's proposals to upgrade transportation systems and make regulatory changes to induce Boeing to build its 777x plane in the state.

Some environmentalists are also concerned about what legislators may be asked to do to water quality standards on Boeing's behalf. (see below)

In this communique, Overstreet says the risk of lost Boeing jobs is an attempt to scare the legislature into approving gas tax increases for transportation projects.

"But, you’re not going to hear much about the gas tax. Instead, you are going to hear about jobs, jobs, jobs, granting special tax loopholes, and special permitting back-scratching…to Boeing…a multi-billion dollar CORPORATION," Overstreet writes. "I thought Gov. Inslee was part of the 99 percent?"

While Overstreet might not think much of the governor's plan, it appears to please Boeing somewhat. Here is a letter from Boeing to Inslee, released Nov. 7 by Inslee's office.

Here is the summary of what Inslee wants legislators to do in the surprise special session he called earlier this week.

Besides the transportation provisions, this list also includes some less-than-specific references to "balanced, practical solutions" to water quality issues related to the safety of fish consumption. 

That is an issue of interest to both environmental groups and Indian tribes, who want to be sure that water quality rules are stringent enough to protect people who eat a lot of seafood. Rachael Paschal Osborn, a public interest water lawyer in Spokane, explores those issues here, on the Naiads blog.

She notes that the Earthjustice group has already filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, trying to force EPA to challenge Washington state's water quality standards. As Earthjustice's clients see it, the existing standards are not stringent enough to protect the healh of tribal members and others who eat a lot of fish and seafood.

Meanwhile, union leaders representing Boeing machinists say they are very unhappy with a contract proposal that Boeing says it needs, to keep 777x production in this state.




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