State representative Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) commented on our Birch Bay-Blaine railroad problems but missed a couple of points. By federal law Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) is not responsible for more than 5 percent of the cost to build railroad overpasses/underpasses, whether they be Canadian or U.S. designs. Ninety-five percent of the cost belongs to “we the taxpayers.”
With nine 1.5-mile-long coal trains traveling daily to GPT Cherry Point from Montana through Spokane, Pasco, Vancouver, Kelso, Longview, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Everett and Bellingham, it begs the question, how many road separations are needed across the state and at what cost to us? The same is true with the three daily explosive Bakken oil trains arriving at BP and Phillips refineries. Those trains do not reach Blaine or Ellensburg. There may be no track space left for Amtrak to Vancouver, B.C., never mind a proposed stop in Blaine.
Representative Manweller was elected to represent the interests of his constituents in Kittitas County, not Gateway Pacific or BNSF. BP and Phillips refineries at Cherry Point are marine terminals built to receive Alaskan oil. Last month our U.S. Congress lifted the ban on foreign oil sales and transport overseas, opening the way for an increase in rail and ship traffic from our refineries.
GPT has misled Manweller and others as to the number of jobs at the proposed terminal. The original GPT permit application called for 257 jobs at build-out. Now it is stretched to 430 jobs, but under scrutiny includes 36 tug escort crewmembers who will be based in Anacortes. The listed 66 BNSF railroad workers will go back to home base when their shifts are done. GPT is designed with full automation and in looking at the plans I wonder what the 213 longshoremen will do.
Oil tankers, aircraft carrier-size coal ships, aka Cape-size and bulk freighters may require more pier space than planned. Meanwhile the sister Millennium Terminal in Vancouver only plans for 135 employees. Maybe GPT needs to start all over with a new permit application and environmental impact study so they can get it right.
Our legislators have a habit of cutting taxes for corporations as they have already done for BNSF and GPT. Along with road crossing improvements around the state we need better protection against accidental oil and coal spills, collisions and explosions. Can we afford the GPT jobs? Oh! I almost forgot about the five open piles of coal, each a half-mile long and six stories high. We will get some coal dust from time to time with a southeast blow.
It is time to look at the meaning of the word terrorism. When we think of Donald Trump being used to define American mental approaches to the world as a recruiting tool for ISIS, perhaps we need to look at terrorism more locally.
The “Armed militia standoff in Oregon” headlines introduce us to a group of people representing a family who grazed their cattle on federal land illegally and without rent or contract for over 20 years. This theft of usage cost taxpayers lots of money. This group invited other militia groups to participate in occupying federal land to restore “people’s constitutional rights.”
“If law enforcement brings physical harm to us,” they promise to fight. Apparently due process is not the way to relieve their angst, so they threaten with occupation and guns.
Meanwhile, just a few corporations dominate food production worldwide. Anger about GMO products is a gut reaction to the fact that corporations determine what we eat and how we live and work. Their practices determine immigration and refugee movement. These corporations grab scarce water reserves and sell water back to us in plastic, consume huge agricultural tracts that devastate forests and displace large populations using hired militia; all done in the name of private enterprise and profits.
Terrorism is not just about ISIS; just look around.
The Blaine Food Bank volunteers would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who generously donated to our $25,000 Christmas challenge. The schools, churches, businesses and so many residents of the Blaine, Custer and Birch Bay area donated beyond our expectations once again this year. We made our quota in time and received the bonus!
This allows us to have more purchasing power by buying in bulk at wholesale prices. Our client base increases every month so we are so grateful to have enough nutritious food for everyone who needs it.
And a special big thank you to Mike and Skye Hill of Hills Chevron for their generous donation of hats and jackets for our drivers that identify them as part of the Blaine Food Bank team.
On behalf of Blaine Food Bank volunteers
The Blaine Fine Arts Association wishes to thank the Blaine and Birch Bay communities for the support given to our arts students in the Blaine school district and invite everyone to join us as we celebrate a proud community tradition, the 19th annual Arts & Jazz Celebration, Saturday, January 23 at 7 p.m. in the Blaine school cafeteria. Admission is $5.
Arts & Jazz is a community-based, family-fun celebration of the fine arts programs in the Blaine school district and is truly a highlight of the winter calendar.
The evening is hosted by the Blaine Fine Arts Association (BFAA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of volunteer parents, teachers and community members who work to promote, encourage and support the efforts of the Blaine art, band, choir and drama students.
Each year we are honored to help bring together businesses, community members, family and friends who support our arts programs. Arts & Jazz is an auction lover’s delight with live and silent auctions featuring donations from businesses and individuals that believe in our students as much as we do. All funds raised benefit scholarships and experiences beyond the curriculum in the Blaine school district.
Included in this year’s auction are two chances to purchase four front row reserved seats to the 2016 Blaine High School graduation ceremony. Perfect for proud Borderite parents or grandparents. Other auction items include a crab fishing excursion on local waters hosted by Joseph Imperio; Mountain State Builders and a custom Seahawks fire pit by Tom Erickson – go Hawks! The live auction begins at 8 p.m.
If you are unable to attend the auction and would like to make a cash donation, you can mail a check, payable to BFAA, to P.O. Box 1545, Blaine 98231.
Arts & Jazz is a “Proud Community Tradition” of a community coming together once a year to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of our students and the tradition of passing art to a new generation.
If you have questions, contact Christy Imperio at 201-4100 or Dorita Gray at 380-1634.