A crash dummy could put a better face on the situation
[Update below 04/08/08]
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire spooked economic development groups in Richland, WA, this week when she said recently talked with Areva’s chief executive officer about a possible uranium enrichment plant in Richland and “reiterated my concern about disposal of waste.”
This is not what the Richland groups wanted to hear. Gregoire has not yet thrown her support to the project because of concerns about wastes at the plant. According to a report in the Tri-City Herald, Gregoire said she could support the project but it “depends on whether they’re able to deal with that” and wants to see a waste disposal plan in place.
The state's two U.S. senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, support the project. Supporters in Richland rated the governor's remarks as "less than enthusiastic." They complained the governor is late to the party and think she could have balanced her comments with an emphasis on landing the project.
A site adjacent to Areva’s existing fuel fabrication plant in Richland is being considered. The expansion would be a major economic coup for the Tri-Cities.
The plant could cost $2 billion to build, could generate 700 construction jobs and 350 to 400 permanent family wage jobs, according to the Tri-City Development Council.
Gov. Gregoire did not improve her profile on the Areva deal with a visit to Richland this week. If anything, it got slightly worse. Her perspective she said, is that she's trying to walk a fine. In on the one hand she says she's trying to keep opponents at bay. On the other hand, she's not certain Washington is Areva's top choice and wants to temper any overconfidence Washington may have.
Let's translate that . . . she wants to shore up her green votes in the Seattle area without annoying the building trades in Richland who really want to be in on the construction of a $2 billion manufacturing plant. In the last election Gregoire got less than a third of the vote in Richland.
We'll know soon enough what's going to happen with the plant. Areva's executive committee met last week. Unless there is some new wrinkle in the fabric, an announcement should show up any day now.