Letters to the Editor: July 12 - July 18, 2012

Published on Wed, Jul 11, 2012
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The Editor:

You folks who support the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) need to take your job blinders off, and look at the whole picture of what may happen to our community if the coal terminal is fully operational. Yes, I can agree the GPT will bring about 200 monotonous, dirty, cancer-causing, wage-providing jobs.
But look at declining property values, polluted fishing grounds, damaged farmland and the tourist-loved recreational habitats. When small businesses and professionals abandon a depressed and contaminated Whatcom County – and farmers and fishermen are put out of work, this is a net job loss of real sustainable legacy jobs that are here now!
How could Whatcom County, a forward-thinking, beyond dirty coal-powered community, want a massive coal shipping terminal in its midst? How can we be okay with ships twice the size of oil tankers plying our already crowded waterways, the possibility of catastrophic accident always on our shoulders? Are we really able to deal with slowed commerce and delayed emergency response from mile-plus long trains?
And where is all of our patriotic American coal going, you ask? Why, to communist China of course, along with our manufacturing jobs; returning as climate changing air and water pollution, and more plastic junk for our consumption.
There is, of course, the promised tax revenue to be brought in from GPT, since few real profits from it will be staying locally. But we will be lucky if it’s one tenth of what it will cost the community for railroad crossing upgrades, ill citizens, and contamination cleanup.
Wake up, people of Blaine and the county! Open your eyes, listen with your god-given ears, and use that bountiful brain. Get the full story – the one that SSA, Ambre Energy, Peabody Coal and Goldman-Sachs are whitewashing for us. Or look your children in the face and tell them sorry, in case it doesn’t work out the way you hope it will. But hey, those poor CEOs will at least have a seventh or eighth house, when the coal market falls out, those 200 jobs are gone and your own home is on the line.

Devon Bjerkness

The Editor:

I have no position regarding the coal terminal issue. I am waiting for more reliable data. Seems the opponents are submitting letters based on no reliable data and in some cases hard-to-believe claims.
Sandy Robson states that 48 million tons of coal is transported annually to China. Reliable data stated that in 2011 six million tons were exported to China, ranking sixth overall globally. Melody Young claims the pollution drifts back across the ocean from China. I have not read any scientific evidence that supports her claim.
Len Beckett blames China for fouling the planet. The U.S. exports almost twice as much coal to Europe than Asia. China ranks only third as an Asian export destination. I doubt that the West Coast is the departure point for exports to Europe.
Harold Roper seems to be a former military person who claims to have traveled extensively in China and that many Chinese wore face masks because of the “pollution problem” caused by burning coal. In the past five-plus years I have visited more than 15 cities in China, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.  
I lived in Guangzhou for one year and seldom if ever saw Chinese people wearing face masks. He claims that higher levels of mercury in Lake Whatcom have been “directly” traced to coal burning in China. Give me a break, Harold.
I urge everyone to support the new jail proposal for Whatcom County as it is badly needed and needed now.
The articles regarding Lincoln Rutter’s alleged assault and intimidating tactics with a county executive comes as no surprise. A former county executive told me Rutter continually badgered, harassed and pestered county employees.
He is a wealthy person living in Birch Point whose letters to the editor refer to his being from Blaine and most recently Birch Bay. Seems he does not want to reveal his true personal residence as it would question his credibility.
I hope county prosecutors throw the book at him.

Mickey Masdeo
Birch Bay

The Editor:

There were several coal trainsderailed this week, causing at least two fatalities and reminding us that transportingfossil fuels comes with a huge cost. There was a 31-car pileup outside of Pasco,Washington, on a route that cuts through the Cascade Mountains. On July 4 there was another31-car derailment in Illinois involving a bridge collapse that killed atleast two motorists.
A railroad spokesman says about 30 cars of a 125-car coal train bound from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to British Columbia have derailed along a route in Pasco, Washington, blocking a main rail line.
He said the majority of the derailed cars ended up on their sides and an undetermined amount of coal spilled, but noting that no environmental threat was reported.
Before making that claim, shouldn’t BNSF examine the spill since coal contains mercury,arsenic and other toxic compounds that pose a serious threat to wildlife andhuman health? Add wind gusts and the entire area is affected.
If this is the level of response we will get if and when there is a spill, I am very concernedabout the health and welfare of us all along the route if the GPT terminal is built.

Amy Glasser



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