Port of Vancouver faulted in graininspection dispute

first_imgIn the dispute over the lack of inspections at United Grain Corp., the Port of Vancouver is now coming under sharp criticism from the federal government. In a letter sent Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency said its safety experts have concluded “that the Port of Vancouver has not been enforcing its rules of conduct” to enable state or federal grain inspectors to safely move through a picketed gate to reach United Grain’s export facility.The letter, written by Lawrence Mitchell, an administrator for the U.S. Agriculture department based in Washington ,D.C., was in response to requests by United Grain to direct federal personnel to take over inspections in the absence of state officials. The U.S. Agriculture department has refused to do so but says it’s reviewing the matter.Citing threats from union pickets, Washington state Department of Agriculture inspectors have refused to enter a gate at the port since July 7. Their refusal has all but shut down the West Coast’s largest grain elevator.A similar labor conflict at the Columbia Grain facility at the Port of Portland has been managed better than at the Port of Vancouver, Mitchell wrote, “and does not present the same safety concerns for the (federal) inspectors” who examine grain in Portland.last_img