by Crina Hoyer
Tuesday, March 20th is a big day. It’s the first opportunity that the public will have to hear directly from the agencies responsible for determining the environmental impacts of the Gateway Pacific Terminal i.e. the coal port. Whatcom County representatives and the WA State Department of Ecology are hosting an Information Meeting on Environmental Review Process at the Bellingham High School at 6pm. March 20th is also a perfect opportunity for a community who opposes the coal terminal to send a clear message to decision-makers that we are still paying attention.
To clarify, the 6pm meeting is not part of the official permitting process as far as we can tell, but we’re happy that the County and Department of Ecology are hosting it. The purpose of their meeting is not to collect any official comments or hear from concerned citizens (that will happen later in the spring). The purpose is to familiarize people with the upcoming environmental review process that will likely start in a few months. But we can’t pass up any opportunity to communicate our concerns, therefore we need you and all of your friends to show up with signs, banners and noisemakers and help us show our permitting agencies that there are a lot of us who will be carefully scrutinizing this permitting and EIS process. Click here for more info on the EIS process and what will be discussed at the community meeting.
Join RE Sources and others at Bellingham High School at 5:00pm on Tuesday, March 20th for a pre-meeting rally. We want to turn out a thousand people, rain or shine, to help us demand a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.
For those of you who might need a little background info before you’re willing to storm the high school (written with tongue-in-cheek, of course), check-out these great articles from last week:
“It's great for the coal cabal! For us, not so much.” by James Wells Written for the Daily Kos, this article begins with a great lead paragraph:When big carbon comes to town, the resulting swath of destruction is economic as well as environmental. This should not be too much of a surprise for anybody who has been paying attention.
Great information can be found on Jean Melious’ blog. In her most recent post titled, “Coal Port News: A 2% Solution to Heavy Rail Traffic and At-Grade Railroad Crossings,” Jean discusses a recent conference held in Billings, Montana that focused on examining the impacts of coal train traffic on Billings’ downtown. Clearly this is a topic that should raise some concern in Bellingham.
Third, you might want to pull-up Floyd McKay’s recent article called, “Study questions coal's value to Bellingham,” written for Crosscut.com. As always, Floyd does a great job digging deep into the issue. He begins by writing:As an environmental review approaches, opponents and supporters of exporting coal to China are angling to shape the perception of how a proposed facility will affect Bellingham and even cities like Seattle and Edmonds.
Grab your friends and neighbors and join RE Sources at our community rally for a fair environmental impact assessment at 5:00pm at Bellingham High School. See you next Tuesday!