An economic impact study paid for by Westway Terminals and Imperium Renewables estimates the companies’ proposed crude oil shipping operations would directly create 148 local jobs and as much as $116.6 million per year in local economic activity.
“How many times have we talked about $100 million in activity in Grays Harbor County?” Greater Grays Harbor Inc. Executive Director Tim Gibbs said.
He added that environmental concerns must also be addressed, but said it can’t be “an either-or equation.”
“If we can do things safely, and we can have this type of economic activity, that’s the type of win-win we’re looking for for Grays Harbor and the region,” Gibbs said.
The analysis, performed by Seattle economic consulting firm ECONorthwest, relies primarily on data provided by the companies themselves, along with spending and population data from the U.S. Census and a study performed for the Port of Longview.
The report also estimates that construction would generate $143.3 million in economic activity and directly create 231 jobs throughout Washington, but does not estimate the construction impacts to Grays Harbor County specifically.
The projects are currently in limbo after a letter from the state Shorelines Hearings Board stated the City of Hoquiam and state Department of Ecology failed to account for all the relevant factors before issuing shorelines permits. The final ruling has not yet been published, and it’s still unclear what will be required of the companies in order to move forward.
The report projects the terminals — if they are constructed — would directly employ 45 additional workers at the sites themselves, and another 103 workers in the marine services and rail industry.
It also looked at indirect and induced impacts. Indirect impacts are those caused by interactions the terminals will have with other businesses, such as suppliers or companies providing services. ECONorthwest projected the terminals would indirectly create 87 jobs at other Grays Harbor businesses.
Induced impacts are those created by changes in regional household spending patterns, in other words, from workers spending their wages.
The terminals are projected to induce another 68 jobs, for a total of 303 estimated jobs specifically in Grays Harbor County. Combined with the potential jobs that could be created out of the county, the report states that 758 jobs could be created directly, indirectly or “induced.”