Officials from states like Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming are speaking up about the benefits their states have received from increased trade capacity through investments in port expansion. They are speaking directly to Washington regulators whom they believe are purposely and perhaps illegally using their power to thwart job creation and economic expansion in the state.

While the Washington Department of Ecology slowly conducts environmental impact studies  on 2 local terminals – Millennium Bulk Terminal and Gateway Pacific Terminal – Attorneys General Tim Fox and Wayne Stenehjem, former Attorney General Rob McKenna and Governor Matthew Mead all question the political motivations and implications behind such a process.

“And while they don’t come quite out and say it, they are hinting that if the state Department of Ecology jiggers the permitting process in a way that allows Washington to reject a shipping terminal of national significance, an interstate court battle could ensue,” says Washington State Wire’s Erik Smith.

Wondering why officials from other states are getting involved? The expanded scope of these environment impact studies and its most recent use as a political puppet could set precedent on a local and national level. “The U.S. Constitution says only the federal government can regulate interstate and international commerce. ‘In the scoping decision for the Cherry Point project, Ecology essentially substituted its judgment for that of the U.S. government on both of these issues,’ [McKenna] says. But never has Congress given states the authority to do such a thing.”

All eyes will be on Washington over the next few months as it dangerously sails unchartered waters, having the very real potential for detrimental effects within the environmental and commerce jurisdictions.