Letters to the Editor: December 21 - January 3

Published on Wed, Jan 2, 2013
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The Editor:

Let me get this straight. In addition to telling kids that correct spelling and grammar don’t matter because they’re ‘gifted’ and making sure everyone gets a trophy because they’re all ‘special’ and allowing little one-note Johnny to sing in the choir to protect his ‘self-esteem,’ now we’re telling kids, “It’s okay to ignore library book return dates because you’re more important than other patrons.” That has got to be one of the most shortsighted and simple-minded ideas I’ve heard in a long time.
Our entitlement-driven society is already swirling around the drain. Teaching kids that it’s okay to ignore responsibility will certainly pull us down a bit faster. Good luck with that.

John Yirak 
Blaine

The Editor:

I’m concerned that the proposed GPT’s uncovered coal stockpiles would release millions of pounds of toxic coal dust into our air every year. Equally concerning is that many, perhaps most, GPT supporters seem to have been deliberately deceived into falsely believing that GPT’s coal stockpiles would be totally covered and have 0% emissions. 
Page 89 of GPT’s official application states GPT would include, “For coal ... a single large, open-air stockyard … approximately 80 acres … five stockpiles … approximately 2,500 feet long and up to about 62 feet high.” That’s 2½ miles of coal piled higher than a six-story building and all of it in the open air and uncovered. 
When I mentioned my concerns about uncovered coal stockpiles to GPT supporters (including several labor and business leaders) at the Ferndale scoping meeting, they tried to reassure me. They all said GPT’s coal stockpiles would be totally covered and have 0% emissions. One labor leader said GPT’s coal stockpiles would be totally covered with a concrete roof. They said GPT would be completely different than Canada’s terrible Westshore coal terminal where uncovered coal stockpiles release 1½ million pounds of coal dust into the air each year. (In fact, GPT would be much worse than Westshore because GPT would stockpile twice as much coal as Westshore.) 
A prominent member of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce also said GPT told him the coal stockpiles would be totally covered and have 0% emissions. He also said he had not read the official GPT application because, “It’s too long and I’m too busy.” Disappointingly, the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce allowed official GPT spokesmen to give a presentation promoting GPT to the chamber, but the chamber denied multiple requests by Birch Bay area residents to give a presentation about their concerns regarding GPT. Don’t our community leaders have a responsibility to learn basic key facts about a major project before promoting it to our community? 
Given accurate information, individuals will make the best decisions for 
themselves, their families and their communities. Learn the facts and how to make the government pay attention to your concerns (submit scoping comment) at 
coaltrainfacts.org

Paula Rotundi
Birch Bay

The Editor:

On Christmas Eve at approximately 10 p.m. my friend accidently pushed the 911 button on our home phone but quickly corrected the action. Within seconds we received a call from the police checking it out and after we explained the mistake, the lady on the phone politely asked if it was OK to have an officer come by to make sure things were OK, which I said yes to naturally. By the time I walked to the front door to turn the light on there were two police cruisers out front (wow!). The responding officer was pleasant and we thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.
I would like to say thank you to all of the people who make Blaine what Blaine is, a great and safe community to work and live in. I, like many others, forget how hard these people work to keep us safe, happy and comfortable, but having a situation like this reminded me, and I want to say thank you and God bless, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Myron Williams
Blaine

The Editor:

Those who are against the coal terminal at Cherry Point are “radicals,” “fear mongers,” “frantic fanatics,” “believers in Hollywood horror stories,” “selfish,” and “liars.” Those were some of the labels presented at the Ferndale scoping meeting for the GPT. Perhaps we should consider other adjectives, like informed, knowledgeable and aware. Comment after comment that I have read by people who oppose the coal terminal show that they are individuals who have done their homework. They have read the proposals; they have researched the details.
Are these “radicals” who express concern over the health issues of fine particles of coal dust like other radicals of the past who went up against the giant tobacco industries over the harmful effects of smoking, or the “radicals” that produced evidence of the ill-effects of asbestos or lead paint?
The mantra of those in favor of the coal trains is “we need jobs,” yet Whatcom County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. The point does not seem to be about jobs, but about a small number of permanent jobs in a specific field at the expense of jobs in other areas due to the full ramifications of the terminal. There were some at the meeting who bemoaned the loss of jobs at Georgia Pacific in Bellingham, which maybe is not the best example of a good neighbor since the first phase of cleanup at that site has just been completed, involving the removal of 8,000 tons of contaminated soil at a cost of $1 million. There are often long-term negative consequences of certain industries; to be shortsighted about those consequences is foolish. 
Those who speak against the terminal are not against jobs, we are against coal and all the negative health and environmental impacts it has been shown to produce; from mining to shipping to burning and the winds that carry its pollution, to the part it plays in global warming. If the terminal were built to ship apples we probably would not be having this discussion. 

Paul Schroeder
Blaine

The Editor:

I wanted to thank my friends, my terrific volunteers and loyal customers who showed up to help after my store (Birch Bay Consignment & Thrift) flooded last Monday morning. I would like to start with my “first responders,” the entire Dee’s Country Diner family. Their help was invaluable. 
Special thanks to Mike and Kathy Snow who showed up so quickly with their sub-pump and friends Mandy, Tad and Rick, Ted the builder, Big Bob, both Kathys, Lynn one and Lynne two, Ronnie and Laura, Miss Vickie with her guy help, Marie and Johnny with the boot dryer, Nina and Darrin with the plates of food and everyone else that I am forgetting, thank you all so very much! 
For your support and well wishes I have decided to continue the 25 percent off sale through January 15, hoping you all have a terrific New Year. 
Thanks again. 

Susan Fisher and Charlie
Birch Bay

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