Letters to the editor: May 16 - 22, 2013

Published on Wed, May 15, 2013
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The Editor:
The article in the May 2 issue of The Northern Light was informative about the Drayton Harbor Community Shellfish Farm. However, it didn’t tell the whole story.
Julie Hirsch of Hirsch Consulting, working with a grant from the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, organized a series of educational tours of the Drayton Harbor Community Shellfish Farm out at their oyster barge, and a series of workshops held at the Port of Bellingham’s Blaine Harbor Boating Center, educating and informing fifth grade Blaine Elementary School students and adults about Pacific oysters and water quality.
The historic Plover played an important part in this activity, as it is the only vessel in Drayton Harbor with U.S. Coast Guard approval to transport passengers for hire. 
The Plover took 211 fifth grade students, teachers, chaperones and adults out to the oyster barge where the participants received an engaging hands-on lesson about the workings of the Community Shellfish Farm, learning the importance of good water quality, sources of pollution and its effect on the health of the ecosystem, the Pacific oyster and prevention strategies to help keep the ecosystem healthy where these bivalve mollusks are grown commercially.
If the venerable Plover were not available, this educational tour of the Drayton Harbor Community Shellfish Farm would not have been possible. Another good reason why it is important to help keep the historic Plover plying the waters of Drayton Harbor.
Fair winds,
Richard C. Sturgill

The Editor:
We would like to express strong support for the Birch Bay shoreline enhancement project.
We like to walk and ride our bikes on Birch Bay Drive. At this time, it is not safe to do this. The beach and water views are wonderful, but there is no adequate shoulder. We would be delighted to be able to walk and bike along the drive safely.
The enhancements are needed. The area now has the look of neglect. It will enhance Birch Bay Drive. Those residents who live on Birch Bay Drive and businesses on the drive will be the greatest benefactors. There would be greater protection from winter storms, from the effects of further erosion and perhaps more clients for businesses. The changes would improve the local economy.
We understand that some of the residents on the drive, for various reasons, one being the easements, are not in favor of this project. Bushes, landscaping, fences and even some structures are now infringing on the easements. These easements have been there for many, many years, even prior to any current resident’s birth.
As Birch Bay area homeowners, we urge you to proceed with the project – the quicker, the better. As planned, the project will extend to Birch Point Road. There are many local residents in the Birch Bay area, including the Birch Bay village area, who would benefit from bringing the enhancements to Birch Point Road. It will also become a great place for residents from other areas of Whatcom County to visit.
Thank you for the opportunity to express our strong support.
Henry and Maria Schut
Birch Bay

The Editor:
State senator Doug Ericksen recently argued to maintain a tax loophole for oil refineries rather than to fund other priorities like schools and students. He made some statements that I find to be untrue.
He said, “Washington’s five refineries are low-margin operations.” The facts are that BP made $25.7 billion profit in 2011; CEO Bob Dudley’s pay package was $2.673 million. In 2011, Shell made profits of $20.1 billion and CEO Peter Voser’s pay package was $6.6 million. Conoco Phillips had profits of $12.4 billion in 2011. Tesoro wasn’t profitable in 2010, but that didn’t stop them from spending more than $2 million on an initiative to do away with California’s global warming law. They were back in the black by 2012, with $546 million in profits.
Ericksen also said, “Imposing additional operating costs on Washington refineries will make them less competitive.” In truth, 29 other states have use taxes on refineries; only Alabama has a similar but narrower loophole. Why should Washington be the only state to offer such a widespread tax break for extracted fuels at oil refineries? Why would Washington strive to be more like Alabama than any other state?
Under what principle would the senator prefer tax loopholes for profit-making corporations and their overpaid CEOs rather than funding economic security, sustaining communities, protecting our environment and supporting education — all potentially suffering under the current Senate budget proposal?
Ruth Higgins
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Mayors in Whatcom County are an embarrassment, particularly Kelli Linville. They represent the people who will be closest to the proposed coal terminal yet they refuse to represent the people that elected them to keep them safe. And for what, a few jobs?
To begin with we must respect the Lummi Nation and the land they have lived on and relied on long before we were here. It is not our land or water to exploit.
We all will suffer the consequences of transporting coal by rail to Cherry Point in the form of noise, air and water pollution along with safety concerns and risks of derailments.
We all will suffer the consequences of storing and loading this dirty coal at the terminal in piles open to the wind and rain. Not only will we suffer but so will the plant life, animal life and the water we depend upon just to name a few.
We will all suffer the consequences from shipping coal to Asia and the water pollution, risk of accidents on the sea, invasive species entering in ships and the terribly dirty bulk fuel that is burned. Who will inspect and keep us safe from those impacts?
And then we let Asia burn the coal, which results in more pollution that affects the planet and everything we need to survive. What is there to think about, mayors?
You were mandated to keep us safe. Do your jobs.
Amy Glasser

The Editor:
Blaine Food Bank and our volunteers would like to give a big “Thank you” to both Blaine and Custer Post Office employees during the USPS annual “Stamp Out Hunger” campaign on Saturday, May 11. 
Equally important, we would like to thank the generous people in the Blaine, Birch Bay and Custer area who took the time to select, bag and donate food for this cause. Between both post offices we received a total of 4,135 lbs. of food.
No one knows when they will be hungry, when they will have a financial struggle or when they might have an emergency. Hunger is equal opportunity. Being generous to the food bank is also an equal opportunity, so please accept our gratitude.
Joan Smith
Blaine Food Bank

The Editor:
On behalf of the 40 artists who welcomed you to the Mothers Day Art Studio Tour, we wish to thank our many guests who viewed and purchased art. Space limits us from naming and thanking all the sponsors listed on our brochure, but it was their generosity that allowed us to continue with this event which promotes and supports the many artists and artisans who make northwest Whatcom County their home.  We are so grateful!
If you are an artist who would be interested in showing in the studio tour next year or want information about joining the online gallery, you can go to the website at blaineharborartgallery.com.
Georgia Donovan for Blaine Harbor Art Gallery

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