Letters to the Editor: April 5 - April 11, 2012

Published on Wed, Apr 4, 2012
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The Editor:

It appears odd to me that we, as a nation, would ship coal to any country, for example, China, that will use it to foul the planet. Certainly we would not allow uncontrolled coal emissions here, so it would follow that we should withhold coal supplies from anyone who does not adhere to our regulatory standards; or is it just a case of “not in my backyard?”
Either way, the burning of coal should be phased out as rapidly as possible. We all know this, yet there are those who would squeeze the last nickel possible out of a dying industry without regard for the numerous negative environmental impacts nor the detrimental physical impacts to humans, pets, wild animals and domestic livestock.
We need only look at some of our own ‘slurry’ ponds and the seemingly irreparable damage here on our continent to find evidence that supports the arguments for leaving coal untouched and stable right where it is, in the ground.
We allow the coal companies, with the world’s biggest shovels, to tear up the timber, the grasslands, and torture the land, and then we let them write it all down as the progress of man.
I am not against progress, but moving forward with industries that do not spoil our homes and our Earth makes much more sense in my book.
So if there is to be a pier that will be built in our pristine backyard, we should have say over what can be pushed through our neighborhoods and our land. Allow grains, allow goods to be received, finished goods to be exported but regulate out the possibility of a coal port for starters and focus on positive uses.
The construction of the pier along with the ensuing ship traffic will, most likely, decimate the remaining kelp beds in that area of Cherry Point further reducing the quality of life here in our corner of the world. So be it, if we cannot stop the terminal altogether, we at least need to work toward minimizing the damage it will inevitably cause.

Len Beckett

The Editor:

I am a single mother of two children living in Bellingham, and any opportunity for better-paying jobs in our community would be a blessing. The economic effect of having higher paying jobs in our county will enable residents to spend more money in our local economy, broaden our tax base and subsequently create more jobs. I believe the Gateway Pacific Terminal will have this positive effect on our local economy.
As a resident of Whatcom County since the late ’70s, trains have been and always will be a part of my life. A slight increase in train traffic does not outweigh the opportunity for good-paying jobs. Knowing that we already have coal trains passing through Bellingham, I do not understand why people believe this new terminal will be so horrendous.
I do not believe the supposed health risks cited by opponents, and to this date I have never been stopped by a train in Bellingham. If you believe your life will be drastically affected by a few more trains, then you should not have chosen to live near the tracks. I hope our county council members look favorably on providing a stronger local economy rather than appeasing a slightly inconvenienced local minority.

Yesenia Zavala-Rios

The Editor:

Let’s face it, the sheer size of the Gateway Pacific Terminal project speaks for itself: another way for the super-rich (Goldman Sachs, Peabody Coal, Ambre Energy) to get super-duper-uber-rich...er.
(Mild) hyperbole aside, ask yourself: Do I support local American jobs? If this project is approved, say goodbye to tourists, family farms and berry patches. Goodbye local dairies, so long fisheries. All for a handful (relatively speaking) of coal exporting jobs. And more Chinese goods flooding in, manufactured there, with our coal, instead of here in the U.S.
And until the bottom falls out of the coal market, or China gains enough infrastructure to transport Asia’s own coal, we are left with double to quadruple the number of coal trains we see now. More sleepless nights, more and longer waits at railroad crossings (for everyone, including EMS and fire vehicles), more diesel exhaust and coal dust choking the air, our fields, streams and Puget Sound left contaminated. Birch Bay, you should talk to residents of Point Roberts about what it’s like to be within the Deltaport’s coal terminal dust fallout. Not good news for the only beachside town in northern Washington.
So now you have a few choices. Support the coal terminal, and save up some of your money for your respiratory medical bills; or support your country and county by taking a stand against the coal terminal and the coal trains. Or pack up now, and move to L.A. for a cleaner, quieter, better life.

Devon Bjerkness

The Editor:

We would like to thank the many people who attended Steve Rothwell’s service and for the donations to the Blaine fishermen’s memorial. For the beautiful flowers, cards and the support everyone has shown, thank you again.

The family of Steve Rothwell



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