Letters to the editor: July 11 - 17, 2013

Published on Wed, Jul 10, 2013
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The Editor:

Ed. note: To view the article mentioned in this letter, visit http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/07/06/train-carrying-crude-oil-derails-in-quebec/2494651/ 

To “Helpless in Birch Bay” – you are not alone; you are among hundreds if not thousands who are beginning to understand what is planned for the formerly idyllic corner of the Pacific Northwest.
While most of us are busy with everyday responsibilities, others are planning more rail spurs in Ferndale. If anyone should feel helpless, it would be people living closest to the BP Cherry Point and Phillips 66 refineries. It is just north of that area, west of Kickerville and north of Henry to Aldergrove where the Gateway Pacific Terminal site is planned. It is helpful to use Mapquest to view this area. You will notice Birch Bay State Park to the north; Lake Terrell to the southeast, north of Grandview; and Hovander Park and Tenant Lake east of the Nooksack River and north of Slater Road.
This entire area is destined to be filled with more rail traffic, since BP and Phillips refineries are ramping up to receive and refine Bakken crude oil from North Dakota. A two-mile rail loop to handle one trainload of crude per day at BP could be completed within one year. Phillips 66 refinery is in the permit process for another rail spur between Unick and Slater roads to accommodate one crude oil train every two days. These rail spurs add more noisy, dangerous trains, coming and going.  There will also be a 1.5-mile long siding for empty oil trains awaiting return to the Dakota oil fields.
Crude oil trains from North Dakota will travel through Bellingham and Ferndale to our refineries. The good news is that perhaps residents in Bellingham, Ferndale, Blaine and Birch Bay will realize that building GPT north of Aldergrove in Ferndale will create a huge and perhaps ultimate insult to this area, encompassing the Georgia Strait and adding mountains of toxic coal activity to the growing noise and silent pollution. These industries create more cost and destructive potential to the land we need to protect than we can afford. For a preview of crude oil rail hazards, read the following article at usat.ly/12g9gPo
Christine Westland

The Editor:
Blaine Lettered Streets Neighborhood Association and Crime Watch is flourishing! Come join us at the next meeting, Monday, July 15, 6 p.m., at the historic Freedom Fellowship Church, 508 G Street (5th and G). Pastor David Riddle, his wife Gail and dedicated church members are our gracious hosts providing refreshments and goodies.
All Lettered Streets residents, landlords, community leaders and business owners are encouraged to attend (Lettered Streets neighborhood boundaries: north of H Street, east of I-5, south of U.S./Canada Border, west of 543 Truck crossing). These one-hour meetings address civic, community, crime and safety issues. 
For more information, email BlaineLSN@gmail.com or call 332-3179.
Eric and Jeanette Davidson

The Editor:
We moved to Blaine eight years ago. One of the things that attracted us to this town was the homespun atmosphere and fun family feel. We loved the parade each 4th of July and participated in it a couple of years with our church. 
I must say it has definitely gone downhill in the past years. This year the parade was about 75 percent political. Boring to say the least! Where are the bands, the military, the floats decorated so nice, the horses or the kids groups? It used to be that many of the merchants entered floats too. 
Thanks to the ones who did this year, and especially to the kids from Blaine middle and high school bands that gave up a day of their summer to voluntarily participate and march and play for us. Your part was the highlight of all! The rest was a bore overall. 
Come on, Blaine! Let’s do better next year! Great fireworks, though.
Jan De Foe

The Editor:
Wow! What a great old-fashioned 4th we had! To the thousands of families that attended the festivities – thank you! To our sponsors, chamber members, and all who contributed funds – thank you! To car show participants and volunteers, parade participants and crew, police and public works staff, and the fireworks crew – well done!
And to all the volunteers who make the Blaine 4th of July possible, mere words cannot express the appreciation of the community for what you do!
Bob Boule, president
Blaine Chamber of Commerce 

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