Letters to the Editor: August 9 - August 15, 2012

Published on Wed, Aug 8, 2012
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The Editor:

If you have a job or business related to our coastal waters or enjoy spending time on, in or near our coastal waters, then you’ll want to know about the coal ships that would dominate our local waters if the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GTP) is built.
The official GTP application shows that coal ships would make 974 trips in or out of our local waters every year hauling 48 million tons of coal to China. Coal ships have the worst safety record of any commercial vessel. Coal ships are single hull, have poor maneuverability and are not required to have a tug escort.
Coal ships are Panamax or Capsize ships – the biggest commercial ships on the sea – twice the size of the oil tankers currently allowed in our ports. Each coal ship carries up to 2 million gallons of bunker fuel for its own power. Coal ships are too big to move only in the northbound or southbound traffic lane of our commercial shipping channels. They would move down the middle creating hazards and delays for other ships.
By introducing the most accident-prone commercial ships on the sea to the increasingly crowded Haro and Rosario straits 974 times every year, GTP would significantly increase the likelihood of collisions and catastrophic oil spills in our local waters with devastating consequences for all.
Ballast water is another problem. After unloading their coal in China, the ships would fill their ballast tanks with up to 17 million gallons of water (for stability), then sail back to Cherry Point and discharge the ballast water before filling up with more coal. Every year GTP’s coal ships would discharge up to 8.3 billion gallons of ballast water from China into our local waters. Ballast water from China potentially contains several hundred invasive species (plants, insects, animals) that would seriously threaten the native species upon which our coastal communities are built.
Our coastal communities our lives, and economy depend upon a healthy connection to the sea. It’s not worth endangering everything we value for 89 permanent jobs in 2016 and at most, 213 jobs in 2026.

Leslie McFee

The Editor:

Saturday’s celebration event was very special for Jim Jorgensen and his family. There will be a bench in Jim’s honor located at the Blaine Marine Park. A special thanks to all who attended and donated!
A big thank you to Crystal Tricycle and Shiloh, as well as Len Beckett and all, for dedicating the day to Jim’s event! Thank you to Ray Gilbride, Scott Morgan, Mike Dodd (with the Blaine Athletic Booster Club Organization), John Bates, Jeff Keown, Pam and Bob Christiansen, Stephanie Munden, Dori Binder, Caleb Bowe, Jim Swansen, Matt Gorze, Kelly Clausen, Roy and Kevin Morgan, Chris Baisch, and Debbie Schwab. So much appreciation to the people who helped put this celebration together!
Thanks also to all the silent auction businesses for their donations.
Most of all, thank you, Jim. You have made a big impact, and I am certain you are very loved in the Blaine community.

Terry Gorze

The Editor:

The best laid plans of men often go awry. Why is this so? I think that we might be able to find an answer to that question through science and mathematics. Over the past few decades the study of nature has given rise to incredible insights into how things work. From the weather, to biology, to quantum theory in physics, science has shown us that causality works in nonlinear ways. Turns out that nature doesn’t just grind along like the giant mechanical clock, as Newton described it. We know that the very fabric of nature is chaotic to the core, and no matter how much we think we can predict the future it will always remain elusive.
A deeper look into this chaos has shown us that patterns do emerge and these patterns have given rise to everything that we see including ourselves. The most insignificant of variables, over time, can lead to huge change. The butterfly effect is an example. The analogy goes that a butterfly gently flapping its wings in the South Pacific may eventually cause a powerful hurricane in the Caribbean. I don’t see that it would be crazy to apply these theories to the workings of politics and the social sciences. In fact, I think we can look at history to confirm this very statement.
No one could have predicted that a bullet fired by a lone gunman in Sarajevo in 1914 would be a tipping point and lead to the deaths of 10 million men in the fields of Western Europe only a few years later. Of course a straight line can’t just be drawn from one event to the other. There were a multitude of other political and economic factors, including European colonialism and imperialism, military build ups and tensions that brought on this tragedy.
No matter how much humanity has tried, we can’t separate ourselves from nature. We are governed by the same physical laws which permeate everything. I find this idea both disturbing and exhilarating. It should give rise to deep contemplation about our own personal lives and the decisions we make. For we can’t ever predict where one thought or where one action may lead. One small act of kindness, one simple idea, even one smile may change a life, or even the world!

Jim Agnello

Birch Bay


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