Last year, liberal billionaire Tom Steyer exponentially raised the cost of local elections in Washington State. That fact is finally receiving the national attention it deserves.
Today, the National Review described how Steyer’s involvement in Whatcom County increased the cost of running for a County Council seat from less than $7,000 in 2009 to more than $148,000 in 2013—all to fulfill one of his environmental visions for the West Coast.
Steyer’s investment into the Whatcom County Council paid off. All four of Steyer’s “green” candidates seeking election won, bringing him one step closer to accomplishing at least one of his environmental objectives.
So, what is Steyer’s particular intention and why did he need to buy the Whatcom County Council to see it through? The National Review,
“Steyer’s interest in these four obscure local races is simple. The Whatcom county council will ultimately decide the fate of a proposed coal-export facility on the West Coast. If it receives approval, it would be the largest such American facility on the West Coast, but Steyer and his green allies fervently oppose the use of coal, so they spent heavily to support council candidates likely to vote against the export facility.”
The proposed coal-export facility, or Gateway Pacific Terminal, would provide “nearly 4,500 construction jobs, as well as 1,250 permanent jobs in Whatcom County.” If Steyer gets his way and the Whatcom County Council votes to reject the proposed project, those jobs would be lost and the state would lose “$92 million in state and local taxes in the two-year construction period alone” and “$11.2 million a year… after the project’s completion.”
Steyer’s mission to shut down the Gateway Terminal creates a “dilemma” between two factions of the liberal base: environmental groups and special interest groups. The National Review,
“Steyer’s spending in Whatcom County pitted environmental groups against organized labor, creating a deep division among two of the Democrats’ key constituent groups.
“Steyer’s spending may have a similarly divisive effect on the national stage. In February, he pledged to donate more than $100 million in support of environmentalist Democratic candidates. Just two months later, the Obama administration announced it would opportunely delay its decision on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project as reviled by environmental groups as it is beloved of Big Labor.”