Letters to the Editor: March 29 - April 4, 2012

Published on Wed, Mar 28, 2012
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The Editor:

I find it ironic with all of the fuss and feathers about the SSA Marine terminal project by the environmental people and lawyers concerned locally. If they would step out of their houses and look at the trains that are presently running up and down through our county, they would realize these trains are already primarily carrying coal from Canada south into the U.S.
This terminal may create as many as 400 jobs, but the coal in the trains will still run by your houses regardless of whether it gets built or not! So any mitigation of your property values from coal dust being blown out of open rail cars onto your property from the tracks is already being done and building the SSA Marine terminal probably will, most likely, have little effect on this in the long run.

Charles Robbins

The Editor,

I am writing to recommend a program to people in Blaine: the Community Energy Challenge. In the last two years, more than 650 homeowners and 100 businesses in Whatcom County have worked with us. If you are like a lot of people, you may have heard about it, but may not know how it works or whether it would be a good idea for you.
Here’s how it works: We are a third-party non-profit organization offering home energy assessments. During these assessments, certified auditors review your home for opportunities to save energy. The results are presented to you in an easy-to-understand format that helps you set priorities tailored to your home. You get detailed, cost-effective solutions that save money. The average home has saved about $450 every year.
If you decide to make any of the recommended improvements, we can offer unique rebates to help with the cost: up to $1,500 for weatherization and insulation. For upgrading heating equipment, these rebates add to the rebates from the utility companies. We have trained and qualified contractors working with us who bid on projects so that you get a competitive price. All projects are third party quality inspected.
The assessment costs $195. If you do any of the recommended improvements, that cost is credited toward your project.
This program is a good idea for homeowners who lack insulation, who have a home that may be partially insulated but still feels drafty and cold or that has an 80% or lower efficiency furnace.
The current grant funding for the program prioritizes residents of Blaine and the other small cities in Whatcom County, so you can jump right to the front of the waiting list. But these projects must be completed by June, so don’t wait.
Learn more at www.communityenergychallenge.org.

Alex Ramel

The Editor:

I am writing regarding the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. I am proud to count myself as one of the 40,000 people who signed the anti-coal terminal petition to Public Land Commissioner Peter Goldmark and one of the 800 people who attended the EIS information session at Bellingham High School. The coal export terminal would put public health, transportation, environment and the local economy at risk. In a time of budget shortfalls at the state and national level, our tax dollars need to be used in the best possible way to benefit our families and communities.
Coal trains can be over a mile long. This could cause serious problems for emergency response teams in towns dissected by the train lines. Workers commuting to their jobs would be seriously impacted by long delays. Increased traffic on the railway would also limit the availability of rail lines for other purposes, including passenger travel, goods transportation and export.
Dirty coal burnt in China impacts us here in Washington because the pollution drifts back across the ocean. Coal dust spilt at the terminal site or deposited there through run off could increase the acidification of the Puget Sound, threatening an already compromised ecosystem. This in turn, would diminish feeder fish and salmon populations, hurting the local fishing industry and the health of the community.
The proposed alternate route to Cherry point could create coal dust run off in the farmlands and dairy fields of Whatcom and Skagit counties, long term industries that sustain our community with fresh, healthy food.
As a Washington taxpayer I would like to see my tax dollars supporting local green jobs and the long-term industries that have provided employment and helped define the character of this region rather than subsidize coal bound for export.

Melody Young

The Editor:

I would like to thank the Blaine Police Department for having police officers at SR543 and H Street, and also on the D Street overpass on Tuesday, March 20, and Wednesday, March 21. They kept the  D Street off ramp and D Street clear for the residents of Blaine to get home without waiting in the back-up. Thanks again.

Woody Woods

The Editor:

I would just like to express my disappointment in The Northern Light for allowing someone to be included in Letters to the Editor when the individual refused to have their name published.
Isn’t that the whole idea behind the letters to the editor, to have a forum in which people can be heard when they feel they have something worth hearing?  
Allowing someone to take a controversial stand but keep their identity
private, in my opinion, is no different than providing a space for graffiti.
I, very proudly, will give my name.
Thank you for your time.

Dana Swearinger

Publisher’s note: The Northern Light will only withhold names if there are valid reasons. In this case, we agreed with the letter writer that by printing the name, the writer’s child could experience negative consequences from other students. Given that the letter essentially asked readers to consider both sides and the fact that the story we wrote did not name speakers, we considered it a fair decision.

The Editor:

How ironic. On the front page of last week’s The Northern Light was a huge picture of some opposed Gateway Pacific Terminal residents with dust masks and anti-coal banners – and a big headline underneath the photo claiming “Extra refinery workers a boon for Birch Bay economy.” Lets see, do we want our cake, or do we want to eat it?
Imagine the opposition, and not in my backyard sentiment, that would rise if an oil company announced plans to build a refinery in our community in this day and age. It probably wouldn’t even be allowed to get off the ground. Too many so-called residents in this county and state appear to value emotion and rhetoric over logic and truth. What is the truth when it comes to the terminal – who knows? But we must allow the process to proceed, without prejudice, so the studies and answers dealing with the environment, economy, employment and subsequent benefits and impacts can be examined.
Look at the payback we all receive with the heavy industry we have in the county now (sponsorship of math championships, low school bond rates, living wage jobs and numerous contributions to non-profits and community events). One should not pass judgment on an industry or project until the issues have been thoroughly identified, studied, and a proper cost/benefit analysis conducted.
Let’s move forward with an open mind and at least give the proposal a fair chance. After all, if it weren’t for “Big Oil,” “Big Coal” and other “Big Industry” we would all probably be asking, “Would you like fries with that?”

Frank Bresnan

Letters Policy

The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

Please email letters to letters@thenorthernlight.com