April 30, 2020
State of Washington
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 985014
Dear Governor Inslee –
On behalf of the thousands of businesses that the Pasco Chamber of Commerce represents, we ask that you provide guidance for how all businesses in our area can reopen.
We support your decision to open the private construction industry to resume business. The decision was based on thoughtful review with specific guidelines of how the industry could safely resume work. We believe this is a successful model that could be applied to most of the other businesses in our community to allow them to reopen as well.
Our business members have communicated the challenges they are facing and their strong desire to get back to work in a measured and safe way. This is not a desire to return to work “as normal”, but to return to work with appropriate social distancing, PPE, and hygiene procedures, as well as clear instructions for interaction with their customers and clients. We request your leadership in developing these types of specific guidelines that would allow our businesses to open while remaining protective of community health.
Time is of the essence in considering our request. In many cases, businesses that are closed have absolutely no way to replace income and are not able to receive government assistance. This leaves them, their employees, and their families vulnerable to food and housing insecurity and a host of other social risks. The Pasco Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to foster a vibrant local business environment and to enhance the quality of life in our region. Your action to help our local businesses reopen in a safe and responsible manner is crucial to fulfilling our mission.
Local community leaders and elected officials have worked together to write a letter to the Office of the Governor regarding the $750,000 budget proposal Governor Inslee has requested. Here is a copy of the letter sent on January 28th, 2019.
I want to thank US Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse, Kurt Schrader and others for introducing bipartisan HR3144 to keep the Obama-era 2014 Biological Opinion in place for the Federal Columbia River Power System until 2022. This is an important piece of legislation that builds on improvements at federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, rehabilitation of habitat, and other actions that are benefiting federally protected salmon and steelhead.
To that, I must express my disappointment with a letter submitted to leaders in the House and Senate opposing HR3144 signed by Washington Senator Murray and Representatives Smith and Jayapal. HR3144 legislation doesn’t circumvent the NEPA process. It lets the process play out as intended and limits activist US District Court Judge Simon from issuing rulings that amount to a grand experiment with our hydro system and disrupts an agreement with a track record of working, according to NOAA.
At a time when the current administration is proposing privatization of the Bonneville Power Administration, now is the time our Northwest delegation come together as they historical have on these issues and support our clean, cheap electricity generated by the Columbia and Snake River System.
Please see the copy of the letter from Murray below. I hope this action by Sen. Murray is just an effort to appease her liberal base, and this letter is as far as she intends on going to help remove the Lower Snake River dams.
The Pasco Chamber of Commerce strives to bring the area businesses together with each other and the community to achieve economic security and an overall exceptional quality of life.