Port of Longview Commissioners Jeff Wilson and Doug Averett voiced opposition to Initiative 1631 at Wednesday morning’s board meeting. State Rep. Jim Walsh told them he agrees.
Wilson said he believes initiatives are important because they can act as a ballot for the public. But he — like Averett and Walsh — has concerns about the governance outlined in Initiative 1631.
The measure would include assembling a 15-person board to oversee fees charged to some greenhouse gas producers. The board members would include representatives from the Department of Ecology and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others appointed to the board.
Wilson, Walsh and Averett all said they have concerns about having a board comprised of appointed members rather than elected members.
The port “absolutely” wants to reduce its carbon footprint, Wilson said, but it already has measures in place to do so.
“As a port, we’re doing the right things now,” Wilson said. “1631 sounds good, but turning the pen over to a non-elected official ... I can’t support it.”
Averett said the port needs to be sensitive to its carbon footprint, but also sensitive to its customers.
“The last thing we need is something that’s going to drive industry away,” Averett said. “This is something that should not be passed.”
Walsh told the board he agrees with their concerns, adding another of his own – that the initiative may target the port’s customers.
“I applaud your focus on the questioning of the governance,” Walsh said. “I have concerns about non-elected officials and the unclear outline of how (the money) would be spent.”
During the meeting, the board also approved the process for filling in the vacancy left after Bob Bagaason retired in September from his second term as commissioner — a process, the commissioners said, they are in a hurry to start.