County planning commission hosting town hall on Cherry Point

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The Whatcom County Planning Commission is hosting a town hall meeting on comprehensive plan and code amendments relating to the Cherry Point industrial zone.

The town hall meeting will be held on Thursday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the Whatcom County courthouse, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham.

The town hall “is meant to provide the community with a viewing of the changes to the laws, the code amendments and the land use laws for Cherry Point,” said Shannon Wright, executive director of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities. “It is an opportunity for community members to ask questions, to let their own concerns be known and to request any important changes they would like to see.”

After years of public pressure, Whatcom County Council is considering amendments to existing laws that would raise standards for fossil fuel projects in the Cherry Point industrial zone.

The current draft of Cherry Point amendments prohibits new coal, oil or gas industries at Cherry Point and puts conditions on the existing ones; prohibits new shipping piers, docks or wharfs at Cherry Point; requires new permits and conditions for changes of use, so that existing terminals don’t change to become shipment hubs for crude oil, oil sands, coal or fracked gas; and requires expansion of existing refineries to meet conditions including mitigation of climate pollution.

The Cherry Point industrial zone is roughly 7,000 acres of land zoned for light and heavy industrial uses northwest of Bellingham. It is home to two refineries, BP and Phillips 66, as well as an Alcoa aluminum smelter and other industries.

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