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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 30, 2008 8:15 AM

What Gregoire did, and didn't do, to bring plant to E. Washington

Posted by David Postman

I was talking to a smart friend over the weekend who bemoaned the oh-so-careful approach Gov. Chris Gregoire is taking to governing. He’s a supporter. But he worries that out of fear of alienating someone, somewhere, Gregoire has traded activism for near-paralysis.

Not that I would ever argue with said smart guy. But his point was made for him in an in-depth piece by Chris Mulick of the Tri-City Herald. Mulick dug into Gregoire’s role in the Tri-Cities’ push for a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant that would have created 400, high-paying jobs. The plant ended up in Idaho.

But rather than champion a project she feared would be controversial in some environmental circles, Gregoire deployed a "balanced approach" of not publicly promoting or opposing the project. …

Gregoire's unwillingness to play a more active role in recruiting what would have been a major economic development score for the state, Eastern Washington and the Tri-Cities has left even some of her strongest supporters shaken.

"There is a real disconnect between many of us in the Tri-Cities, including your friends and supporters, and you concerning your effort in support of siting the Areva plant in Richland," wrote Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Mike Lawrence, a longtime friend of the governor, in a May 7 e-mail.

Gregoire told Mulick that her support was unambiguous and that no one from Areya ever expressed any concerns about her support.

Read the well-told story.

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