Keep Washington Competitive, a coalition of representatives from trade organizations, wrote an open letter explaining why they are opposed to a ballot measure that the Spokane City Council just approved for the fall election. Below are portions of that letter and we encourage you to read the full article linked below:
Contrary to federal law and ignoring the advice of two different legal and policy advisers, the Spokane City Council moved forward with a controversial ballot measure banning the transport of coal and oil by rail through the city.
By a vote of 5-1, the council moved for the measure to be placed on the Nov. 7general election ballot. Both the city’s mayor and county sheriff joined the city’s legal advisors in warning the council the proposal would be problematic, if ultimately approved by voters.
“It’s unenforceable, and that’s going to create some real problems for the city,” added Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who has openly opposed the measure. “This measure has been deemed unconstitutional and is politically driven. It will force the city to spend millions to defend it in losing cause; that’s money that could be better spent on vital public needs like more policing, fire protection and road repairs,” he said.
The measure seeks to amend the Spokane Municipal Code to make it a class 1 civil infraction for any person or entity to allow a rail car it owns to ship uncontained coal and some types of oil by rail through the downtown Spokane corridor, or within 2,000 feet of a school, hospital or the Spokane River. The measure would impose a civil fine of $261 per car on the owners of the railcars shipping the prohibited fossil fuels through the city limits.
Michael Cathcart, executive director of Better Spokane, said the council is being irresponsible by ignoring the advice of its own legal and policy advisers.
Keep Washington Competitive works to promote bi-lateral trade growth in Washington state through sound state policies and fostering a regulatory environment that encourages investment in our state trade industries.
Read the full letter written by Keep Washington Competitive here.