Cantwell, Murray & Inslee: Keep Export-Import Bank Open, Protect 85,000 WA Jobs

Over the weekend U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Gov. Jay Inslee and local business leaders to call for Congressional reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, the nation’s official export credit agency and a key export tool that helps Washington companies sell their products overseas.

 

The Ex-Im Bank is a financing tool that helps American companies sell their products or services to foreign customers. It has supported more than 180 exporters in Washington state, two-thirds of which are small businesses. About 85,000 jobs in Washington state are supported by sales involving Ex-Im Bank financing.  Nationally, it has supported $189 billion in exports over the last five years.

 

But the Ex-Im Bank’s charter is set to expire in 100 days, and unless Congress acts, it will be forced to end its assistance to American companies. Inslee, Cantwell and Murray joined Lawrence Stone, CEO and President of SCAFCO, a Spokane company that exports grain storage systems and steel framing products to 82 countries, to highlight how failing to extend the Ex-Im Bank would hurt businesses in the Spokane area and around the state.

 

“Ex-Im is a critical source of capital for businesses all across Washington state. As the most trade-dependent state in the nation, those businesses and our economy could lose billions of dollars in export sales if it expires,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This has helped Washington wineries, growers, food processors and manufacturers create thousands of jobs. Without Ex-Im financing, many of these companies risk losing sales to foreign competitors.”

 

The Governor and two Senators toured SCAFCO, which employs 245 workers in Spokane, and has successfully used Ex-Im financing to expand exports. SCAFCO is one of 14 businesses in Eastern Washington that have used Ex-Im services since 2007. Ex-Im financing has supported $63 million in sales from Eastern Washington companies.

 

“This is about how the United States of America grows jobs by exporting our products overseas,” Cantwell said. “As chairwoman of the Senate Small Business Committee, my top priority is to make sure we have more growth from small businesses and help them become exporters. By expanding to new markets, companies like SCAFCO get new customers and we get jobs here at home. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders. We want people to have this tool so they can buy grain silos or airplanes that proudly say ‘Made in the USA.’”

 

“Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank isn’t about politics, or Republicans and Democrats. It’s about creating jobs here in the United States and keeping our businesses competitive in the global marketplace. That’s it,” Senator Murray said.  “Of the more than 200,000 American jobs supported by the Export-Import Bank last year, more than half were in Washington state, so while this is national priority, it’s particularly critical for jobs and the economy in our home state.”

 

The entire Washington state delegation – in both the House and the Senate — voted for the bank’s reauthorization in 2012. Ex-Im’s reauthorization has been backed by business groups around the country, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable. Historically, the bank has received strong bipartisan support.

 

The Ex-Im Bank, which is self-supported through interest payment and fees, turns a profit for U.S. taxpayers, and transferred $1 billion in revenue to the U.S. Treasury in 2013. It has been reauthorized about two-dozen times since it was created in 1934.

 

“I know that I am speaking for hundreds of small- and medium-sized manufacturers across the country when I say to our Congress: Please reauthorize Ex-Im Bank without delay,” Stone, of SCAFCO, said. “The future of America’s exports and a significant amount of American manufacturers depend on your action on this important issue.”

 

In the past year alone, Ex-Im financing assisted 84 Washington companies, including 64 small businesses, and close to $21 billion worth of sales to foreign customers.

 

In FY 2013, nearly 90 percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s transactions—a record-high 3,413—involved American small businesses.  In FY 2011, more than 700 first-time small businesses and nearly 500 minority- and women-owned businesses used the bank’s services. Ex-Im opened a new branch in Seattle in August 2012, with the goal of helping small businesses get more access to the bank’s financing.

 

If private banks are unwilling or unable, the Export-Import Bank steps in and finances or insures the purchase of U.S. goods by foreign customers. It also helps U.S. companies stay competitive against their counterparts overseas that are financed by foreign governments.

Quinault Indian Nation to open Lake Quinault to regulated use

TAHOLAH, WA – The Quinault Indian Nation announced today they are reopening Lake Quinault to non-tribal use, under specified regulations and restrictions. President Fawn Sharp, said that since the lake was shut down in June of last year, to address pollution, invasive species and other issues, property and business owners in the area have spoken out in support of the Tribe’s actions, saying they appreciate the work being done by Quinault to protect the lake for future generations.

In a statement by the tribe Sharp said “Safeguarding our sacred lake for our children and for all the life it sustains is one of our highest priorities. If we can achieve those objectives, and share this precious resource with our non-tribal members, that’s what we will do. We believe it is time to try.”
Their Business Committee passed the Lake Quinault 2014 Fishing, Boating and Use Regulations Monday night, which covers usage of the lake for a one year period.

The press release added that the lake, up to the Ordinary High Water Mark, is located within the boundaries of the Quinault Indian Reservation. Violators of their regulations could result in confiscation of gear, and boats, as well as enforcement under the Quinault Tribal Code in the Quinault Tribal Court at Taholah.

 

FINAL Lake Quinault Regulations 04-14-14

Quinault Indian Nation considering lake regulations, could reopen Lake Quinault by late April

The Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) Business Committee is considering draft regulations which could lead to the reopening of Lake Quinault to non-tribal use this spring, according the QIN President Fawn Sharp. The lake was closed in April of 2013 due to concerns related to water pollution, invasive species, public safety and the need to protect and restore salmon habitat, particularly Blueback salmon. It was reopened, for swimming only, in time for the July 4 week end.

Representatives of the QIN met with community members on March 26 and shared draft regulations with those in attendance, including fishing and boating policies, a possible temporary moratorium on the removal of docks and a probable restriction against non-resident boats. If approved, the regulation allowing only resident boats would minimize the introduction of invasive species through transference on craft used in other bodies of water. Invasive species, ranging from milfoil to quaggua mussels, can cause severe damage to a lake environment.

Lake Quinault: The lake is within the boundaries of the Quinault Indian Reservation  and owned entirely by the Quinault Nation up to the Ordinary High Water Mark.
Lake Quinault: The lake is within the boundaries of the Quinault Indian Reservation
and owned entirely by the Quinault Nation up to the Ordinary High Water Mark.

Another community meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 19, in concert with Earth Day.  This would be a forum, in part intended to inform and educate the public about invasive species, and other risks to the lake environment. Among others it is anticipated that there will be a presentation by an official from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Aquatic Invasive Species Unit.

“Closing the lake was not an easy decision for the Quinault Nation to make. We realize it caused difficulties for a number of people. But I’m happy to say that our relationship with the businesses and residents in the Lake Quinault area has improved and that there seems to be greater understanding about our reasons for taking the action we did. Lake Quinault is a sacred place to us, and protecting it and the fish and wildlife habitat it provides for future generations, particularly Blueback salmon, is one of our highest priorities,” said Sharp.

“As a business owner in Amanda Park on the lower Quinault River, I have regular communications with Tribal fishing guides and QIN leadership.  We, the Quinault River Inn ownership and staff, acknowledge the singular importance of maintaining the health of the Lake and the river ecosystem.  A healthy lake supports cultural heritage, tourism and the historic use by the Lake Quinault community. We thank the Tribe for its leadership on this issue, particularly in gathering people representative of all parts of our community.  We look forward to more work together to ensure our common goal.  As stated so well by the Nation, ‘Protection and restoration of natural habitats in the Lake are priority policy objectives of QIN and forms a central theme for the Nation’s environmental regulations and guidelines.’ The Quinault River Inn ownership and staff align with this priority objective,” said Peter D. Bailey of the Quinault River Inn.

A statement by lakeside property owners Joe and Leslie Wheeler said, “We want to thank and applaud the Quinault Nation for its visionary leadership in protecting Lake Quinault.  The lake is a beautiful resource of the Quinault Nation that the Nation has graciously made available for use by the general public. With foresight and an eye towards future generations, the Nation is taking significant steps towards preserving and even improving the beauty that is Lake Quinault.  We fully support the protective use restrictions placed on the Lake so that the Quinault Blue Back Salmon can thrive again its once vast numbers and to protect from the introduction of invasive species.”

The Quinault Nation will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Quinault Tribe challenges leadership, while leadership challenges U.S. President

QUINAULT, Wash. – The Quinault Indian Nation will vote on a recall of their President, Fawn Sharp and three other members of the tribal Business Committee next week. The tribe’s newspaper the Nugguam, states that “A petition to recall Sharp, along with Vice President Andrew Mail, Treasurer Larry Ralston and Secretary Latosha Underwood was signed by at least fifty (50) qualified voters and filed with the Quinault Business Committee.
Tribal members who have spearheaded the vote cite issues with money, land, and legal management of the nation. The special general council meeting will be held in the Taholah School gymnasium for “Enrolled Quinault Tribal Members Only” on Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m.
 
Meanwhile Sharp plans to challenge U.S. President Barack Obama (and his administration) to keep his promises to American Indian Nations at his 5th annual meeting with hundreds of tribal leaders from across the country on November 13 in Washington D.C.. A press release from President Sharp said she will call for an intergovernmental dialogue to back up his often stated commitment to strengthen nation-to-nation relations.

Quinault Indian Nation committee adopts anti-coal stance

The Quinault Indian Nation is signatory to the Treaty with the Quinault of 1855. It, along with other Northwest treaties, has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the federal government, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and is thus legally classified as the “supreme law of the land” under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.

“Coal dust and diesel particulates will find their way into our air and waterways as these trains pass along and over our rivers, doing damage to natural resources upon which the Nation depends,” said Sharp. “The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Tribal governments, and environmental organizations have voiced concerns over the threat to human health these proposals bring because of the adverse health effects of coal dust and diesel pollution, including bronchitis, emphysema, lung damage, asthma, and cancer. Our elders and our children are particularly vulnerable because of sensitivity to the health effects of fine particles,” she said.

“The Quinault Nation’s treaty fishing right includes a right of access to its traditional fishing, hunting, and gathering sites that will be impacted by increased vessel and rail traffic.

In the Resolution, the Quinault Business Committee expresses its solidarity and support for the “no” position regarding the Gateway Pacific Terminal proposal adopted by the Lummi Indian Business Council, based on documented disturbance of sacred burial grounds and proposed fill of that area for the purpose of containing over a hundred acres of coal piles.

The Resolution also endorses the words of Billy Frank, Jr., Nisqually tribal elder and longtime chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) that, “We are at a legal and biological crossroads in our efforts to recover the salmon and preserve our tribal cultures, subsistence, spirituality, and economies. Not since the darkest days of the fishing rights struggle have we feared so deeply for the future of our treaty rights.” Quinault Nation, one of 20 member tribes of NWIFC, is signatory to “Treaty Rights at Risk” submitted to the federal government by that Commission. Among other things, that report states that coal export proposals will, in fact, further endanger Treaty Rights.

The Quinault Resolution will be submitted to President Obama, key members of the federal Administration, key members of Congress and to Governor Inslee.