Letters to the editor: August 15-21, 2013

Published on Wed, Aug 14, 2013
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The Editor:
Our family would like to thank everyone who works at Good Samaritan Society-Stafholt for the loving and excellent care you gave our dad and grandpa Earl Dean. We also felt loved and supported by each one of you as you reached out to give us hugs, words of encouragement, and shared your stories about how he touched your lives during his stay there.
With much gratitude,
Paul, Susan, Anna and Sarah Dean

The Editor:
I have a question for all climate change, anti-coal, anti-oil environmentalist groups, and otherwise, who refuse to allow coal (or oil) related projects that might create jobs for unemployed people all over the U.S.
When are you going to sue Mother Nature?
Every day Mother Nature starts brush fires in California and forest fires all over the planet that pump tons of carbon based and other noxious gases into the air. But you never seem to complain about that at all. Every day she pumps tons of carbon based and other gases into the air thanks to her volcanoes in Hawaii, not to mention polluting the oceans with her under-sea volcanoes as well. And she never needs a permit or study to do it either.
When are you going to sue Mother Nature for changing the power output of the sun, heating up our atmosphere over and over again, without your permission? In fact, she even changes the magnetic fields of the sun every 11 years, (an event that will happen in the next few months once again) which causes all sorts of unapproved changes here on Earth, too.
And what about Mother Nature causing earthquakes, tsunamis, tides and ocean current changes (such as El Nino/La Nina), or lightning, snow and ice storms, as well as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and landslides daily? She erodes beaches and banks and pollutes waterways; destroys fish spawning grounds; rips up, snaps, burns and blows down trees. She destroys wetlands, farmlands, roads, bridges, entire neighborhoods and sometimes even entire towns any time she wants to.
When are you going to pass a law to regulate Mother Nature and make sure she stops polluting and destroying the planet without your permission?
Just curious why you environmentalist types never seem to care about all the times Mother Nature screws things up? Why do you want to blame everything – like global climate change – only on people, but never on Mother Nature herself?
Charles K. Jessup

The Editor:
What are the attributes that make a good town a great town? They are our superior education system, library and parks, which we all value. As well, Blaine has the good fortune to have taken these attributes up a notch with citizens who volunteer and work together. They raise our community profile and bring many new visitors and much-needed business to town. How? By working with a community tourism and development coordinator.
We are blessed with many festivals and events such as Wings Over Water, Fourth of July celebrations, Drayton Harbor Days, Blaine Holiday Harbor Lights, Blaine Jazz Festival, Blaine is Beautiful and Yard of the Week. These events are all coordinated with or by the tourism and development coordinator, which insures their stability and growth. 
The coordinator works closely with the parks board, developing and maintaining a donation bench program, developing and insuring sign consistency and producing marketing materials. In addition, she works with community groups, industry and business to insure our economic stability is maintained and continues to grow. As the staff liaison, she handles marketing and communication with other jurisdictions, networking to coordinate teamwork between public and private groups, which is also invaluable.
The position of community tourism and development is not just a “want” position but also a “need” position for our town to continue on this positive trend. I believe this position is truly self-sustaining and necessary to our continued growth and development.
Joan Clark

The Editor:
I was very disheartened to learn last week that four county council candidates refused to talk to voters about growth and the environment. Those are important issues because protecting farmland and making sure we have affordable, clean drinking water are the biggest priorities for our county government. 
The Bellingham Herald reported that four candidates, Bill Knutzen, Kathy Kershner, Ben Elenbaas and Michelle Luke said that they would not attend a forum hosted by local non-profit organizations to talk about these issues. Perhaps even more appalling than the conspiracy to avoid voters was the reason: Bill Knutzen was quoted in the paper as saying, “You have the right to remain silent because anything you say can be used against you.” It says a lot that after four years representing us on county council, he thinks that the people of Whatcom County might want to arrest him.
Elections aren’t trials; they are job applications. We are hiring the people who will make important decisions about our community for years to come. Would you hire someone who pled the fifth during a job interview? I’ll be voting for their opponents and I encourage everyone else to do the same.
Sharon Alford

The Editor:
I’ve been enjoying many of these beautiful Whatcom County afternoons, but also thinking hard about all the issues facing voters this fall. I want to tell you about one of the candidates that I recently had the pleasure to meet and chat with. Barry Buchannan was a Bellingham City Council member and is now running for the Whatcom County Council. I found him to be knowledgeable, articulate and passionate about our community. He brings important experience to issues that I have concerns about including emergency medical service, growth and development and the coal port. 
Barry is willing to listen and be thoughtful. He promises to be a respectful relationship builder. I trust him to create alliance and work for the common good. I urge you to vote for Barry Buchanan come the November 
Annie Welch

The Editor:
Recently, Washington Department of Ecology announced there will be a broad EIS review for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT). During this EIS process, various groups have been working behind the scenes trying to lessen or block any impediments to SSA Marine (the company wanting to build and run GPT) obtaining the permits it needs from Whatcom County.
A major obstacle in SSA Marine’s way is any federally protected endangered species around the proposed terminal area that stand to be adversely impacted by GPT, if built, such as Puget Sound killer whales. 
Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) had petitioned in 2012 (under the guise of property rights) for the de-listing of killer whales from their current protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
This attempt to de-list killer whales could very well be an attempt to head off a potential issue facing SSA Marine that the agencies will have to give major consideration in the EIS in terms of killer whales currently listed as an endangered species.
PLF typically picks clients that are not wealthy so it can proclaim their organization is about helping the average American fight over-regulation. PLF litigates cases that have an environmental element to them, trying to overly broaden the constitutional rights of property owners since the Fifth Amendment guarantees the right to due process, and to be compensated when private property is taken for public use. PLF takes on these cases in an attempt to establish legal precedents that corporations can then use to lessen or block government regulations. 
Think of PLF as a snowplow, trying to clear the way for corporations (their donors) to come into areas where there are environmental protection regulations that these corporations need to plow under.
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Services rejected the arguments in the petition brought forth by PLF, and declared that  killer whales should retain endangered status. It’s possible that a lawsuit could be the next step, if PLF and its clients decide to continue their quest to de-list killer whales. All of us need to keep the killer whales and other endangered and/or threatened species on our radar. 
Sandy Robson

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