Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

By Chris Philips
Managing Editor 

Maritime Blues


June 1, 2019

The month of February was the snowiest in Washington State since 1949. The snow coincided with record cold temperatures, with highs in the upper 20s to low 30s and wind chills from 17 to 22 degrees.

In the state capital of Olympia, lawmakers canceled meetings. Universities statewide called off classes. Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) declared a state of emergency and urged people to stay off the roads and to check on the elderly and vulnerable.

Two weeks later, with snow still on the ground and temperatures still well below average, Inslee announced his bid for the Presidency in 2020 on a single-issue platform of global warming.

Inslee’s “progressive street cred” includes having participated in the state legislation listing the Northern Spotted Owl as threatened on the Endangered Species List in 1990 and in the US legislature four years later when the birds were designated for protections in the National Forest Management Act.

The actions devastated the Olympic Peninsula’s timber industry and communities, which never fully recovered, but the jury is still out on whether the bird was actually in danger — populations have declined as much as 50 percent in spite of increasing habitat, and the main threat has been discovered to be competition from the Barred Owl.

As a US Congressman, Inslee produced very little legislation during his 12 years in office before abandoning his post to run for Governor. As a “progressive” Governor, Inslee has been more productive, promoting a carbon tax, rejecting Vancouver Energy’s proposal to build an oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver and denying a permit for a $650 million coal export terminal in Longview, Washington.

Inslee is running on what he calls the ”100-percent Clean Energy for America Plan,” which calls for zero-emission energy nationwide by 2035. He recently introduced a strategy for the “Blue Economy,” Washington Maritime Blue, which promises “deep decarbonization” for a “thriving, low-carbon industry.”

Last month, after having signed legislation banning all hydraulic fracking for oil and natural gas within Washington State, the Tacoma News Tribune reports, Governor Inslee spoke out against projects tied to fossil fuels, including Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas site under construction in Tacoma and a methanol production facility in Kalama, which had been previously proposed for Tacoma.

“In the early days of both projects, I said they could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we transition to cleaner energy sources, but I am no longer convinced that locking in these multi-decadal infrastructure projects are [sic] sufficient to accomplishing what’s necessary.”

Jay Inslee was for the LNG plant, currently under construction in Tacoma, before he was against it. The plant is a collaborative effort between Puget Sound LNG, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Washington State Department of Ecology and TOTE Maritime. It is intended to provide clean energy to power the Blue Maritime Economy Inslee is promoting.

As Puget Sound Energy (PSE) notes, the Tacoma LNG facility is on track to deliver the cleanest fuel choice possible today for shipping and transportation. Multiple studies required for federal, state, and local permits have found the project reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves local air quality, and reduces the chance of oil spills in Puget Sound – all while helping ensure local families and businesses have safe and dependable energy.

PSE says they have a proven track record delivering real and measurable environmental progress, including a decades-long investment in wind power, hydroelectricity, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and more. “The LNG facility is a key component of ensuring a better energy future for our customers and the communities that we serve,” PSE says.

Governor Inslee’s Maritime Blue initiative, meanwhile promises to “apply a social justice lens to all our efforts, to ensure thriving and resilient communities across the maritime sector.”

That lens was applied to the timber industry in the 1990s. It seems Inslee has the same plan for the maritime industry.

Humorist Will Rogers once said “The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.” Inslee is currently polling dead last in the field of 24 candidates, tied with some other guy no one has ever heard of. In the likely event he isn’t chosen to represent the Democrats in 2020, Inslee has announced that he will run for another term as Governor.

That’s not funny.

Chris can be reached at


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