Letters to the Editor: August 23 - August 29, 2012

Published on Wed, Aug 22, 2012
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The Editor:

I hear often from talking with the pro Gateway Pacific Terminal folks, especially labor, that we can’t stop this terminal from coming in and therefore we might as well accept that and get a few jobs out of it. That’s depressing.
I believe that folks deserve more than to just “pick their poison.” In reality, the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in railroad upgrades, of which taxpayers will be forced to pay 93 percent or more (coaltrainfacts.org), could pay for long-term jobs for all kinds of labor, including construction workers in clean/renewable energy,  teachers, librarians, firefighters, police and more.
There is an answer and it lies within the structure of the Proposition 2 Initiative that was cut short. We need to stop big, out-of-town corporations from preying upon us, decide what we want as a community, and then drive humane and decent ideas into law.  
These large corporations have spent millions on polarizing our community already by spreading the idea to struggling folks that giving away our resources to China is in our best interest  in return for a few crumbs of bread. With the current drought situation in the U.S., will they next be after our food and water, all the while making us believe that we don’t have a choice on that, either? Let’s decide now as a community what we want. Consider supporting local laws to protect and secure our community now and in the future.

Susanne Ravet

The Editor:

I do not have a business related to our coastal waters, neither am I presently a pleasure boater and I do not know Leslie McFee, but I certainly support the letter written by that person that appeared in The Northern Light.
Very little has so far been published about the potential risk and damage large coal ships could cause in this area. The discharge into our ocean of China-filled ballast water must be an enormous threat to fish and other creatures, and the shipping danger of these enormous ships in our already-crowded straits is difficult to imagine.
I understand the desire for more jobs in this area, but the time it may take the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal to create an unknown number of jobs is considerable, and will hardly help current unemployment. Sadly, this project may limit other, less environmentally threatening jobs in this area, affect our tourist business and risk expensive ocean hazard cleanups.
I look forward to reading the opinions of commercial and pleasure boaters about this project, which I believe all of us who love the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest should be very concerned about. It is not only the rail traffic that could affect our lives if this project is ever approved, but nearly every other aspect of the transportation through this area of large quantities of coal to China.

Trevor Hoskins

The Editor:

Harold Roper seems to be a disciple of Lincoln Rutter, who is a master at distortion. My “gripes” were asking for support for a new jail and my wish that Lincoln Rutter get the book thrown at him for his continual behavior toward county employees.
It seems that an organized group has people writing letters opposing the coal terminal. Unfortunately, these letters contain false or distorted statements, or both.
While I misquoted Sandy Robson, her statement is still highly inaccurate. The contract calls for 24 million, not 48 million, tons of coal to be shipped out of the proposed terminal annually. My quote was that 6 million tons of coal was exported to China from the U.S. in 2011. I did not mention anything about China’s total imports. I could not stop laughing at Roper’s comment about one cameraman wearing a face mask in Beijing during December, when it is very cold in that city.
I read Anthony Paulson’s survey and he stated that the chlor-alkali plant was the primary source of mercury and that mercury sediments “probably” come from global sources. There was no mention of China as the source.
You can go online and download the March 2012 updated application filed with Whatcom County. I suggest you focus on reading chapters 4 and 5, specifically 4.5.5 regarding coal dust control, since the document is over 300 pages. Contrary to recent letters published, by 2026 the terminal will employ 213 shift workers, 44 other workers and 173 people are expected to be employed by the railroad and marine industries. The application only states that by 2026 there will be 487 trips from the terminal. Statements about ballast water from China are baseless and just more scare tactics. Another person also stated that 48 million tons will be shipped to China, when the existing contract calls for total coal shipments of 24 million per year.
Other environmental issues are also addressed in addition to coal dust, so read the above chapters and get informed rather than manipulated by the coal terminal opponents.

Mickey Masdeo
Birch Bay



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