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Yesterday the Pacific Gateway flexed their financial clout to pack the fourth Scoping Hearing for its proposed coal export maga-terminal at Cherry Point. Pacific Gateway bussed in paid placeholders from Seattle arriving at 7AM, they were hired that morning at day labor employment agency. One of the project's opponents I spoke to said he had arrived at mid-day and one of the hired placeholders had approached him and told him what was going on.  Gateway Pacific even rented an office in the same building the hearing was held and set up a buffet for their hired placeholders and supporters. I talked to a woman from Ferndale opposed to the coal port project who arrived at 11 AM for the 3 PM hearing, and as she approached the entrance to get her speaking slot number a large male supporter of the project blocked her way allowing an number of late arriving supporters to cut the line. When she finally did get in she got number 97 out of the 100 available. These underhanded tactics gave the first 60+ coveted speaking spots to coal port supporters.

Supporters wore green opponents wore red. Supporters carried signs that read "Power past fear mongering" to answer opponents signs that said "Power past coal" with an belittling insult.

Coal terminal backers make strong showing at Ferndale meeting

By the time the meeting got under way at 3 p.m., coal terminal opponents may have been in the majority in the Ferndale Events Center crowd of more than 1,000, clad in red "Power Past Coal" shirts. But backers of the project showed up first to get a bigger share of the 100 available time slots for testifying at the microphone.

Some coal port supporters didn't stay to give their comments providing extra time for 20 additonal comments, so I got a chance to make one.  I  was #103 following James Wells who was #102.

             
                            An opponent speaks against the coal port

I spoke about all the people unhappy with this coal port's impacts who were too far from these seven scoping hearings to attend one in person. I spoke about living in a low lying area of Whidbey Island with a salt marsh across the street and how driving to the hearing I'd heard on the radio that early estimates were 60% too low and that sea levels would likely rise by 2 or 3 FEET by the end of this century that would turn my front yard into a beach!  

As I was writing, this latest local news item makes wonder how much more train traffic dirty energy corporations want to send through our state for export?

                                   

Move over coal - oil is rolling west

by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Two companies have already started the application process to construct tank farms and rail facilities at the Port of Grays Harbor County.

Port of Grays Harbor and Hoquiam City officials say the move could bring millions of dollars in revenue and up to 80 jobs in the area that took an economic punch to the gut when the timber industry fell flat in the 1980s

The next Scoping Hearing is on the 4th in Spokane. One group of opponents are bringing a bus 442 miles from Billings Montana stopping to pick up opponents along the way.  If there's any way you can attend please come.

Also see:

57 NW Tribes join call for Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Coal Ports

They've got the money. We've got the humans!

Seattle Mayor McGinn takes on Big Coal & Global Warming + Burlington Scoping draws big crowd

Photo Diary: Scoping the Coal MegaPort's ugliness in the jewels of the San Juan Islands

In tears she said she was sorry about coming to comment

Please take the time to attend one of upcoming five Scoping Hearings if you can.

12/4/12 – At Spokane County Fairgrounds, 404 North Havana Street, Spokane Valley, WA 99202 from 4pm-7pm

12/12/12 – At Clark College, Graiser Student Center, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663 from 4pm-7pm

12/13/12 – 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Washington State Convention Center, Ballroom 6F

You can also submit as many comments as you want on aspects of the project that are a concern to you HERE

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 06:23 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, DK GreenRoots, and PacNW Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for reading (28+ / 0-)

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 06:20:07 PM PST

  •  Has the gov't (8+ / 0-)

    decided to look at all the NW coal dock proposals in a single mega-environmental impact statement?

  •  Jeebus, We Came This Close [' '] to Buying a House (7+ / 0-)

    in Ferndale when we lived out there.

    Climate aside, I can appreciate what the threat is.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 06:43:49 PM PST

  •  Good Luck. As I Have Mentioned Coal (9+ / 0-)

    is all around me. Heck I don't think most folks know this, but Obama when running for Senate in IL came to my part of the state and preached the concept of clean coal. The only thing that will not get you elected more than being against coal is being against corn.

    But I hate the darn stuff. Hate it. Hate it. I could send out a few retired coal miners on my block to speak that would say it is the about the worse thing in the world.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 06:46:30 PM PST

    •  Maybe that's exactly what needs to happen. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SanFernandoValleyMom

      Maybe these folks should be organized as a force!

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 07:45:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lefty, I really appreciated your comment (6+ / 0-)

    at the hearing, how you live in and traveled through low lying areas, threatened by sea level rise induced by global warming, to get to the hearing.

    Thanks for going the extra mile several times for these important hearings, and hopefully see you in Seattle.

  •  Do not let Big Coal anywhere near your politics (8+ / 0-)

    I'm from West Virginia. This is not a normal political scuffle. What these people will do is outside your experience.

  •  Ferndale and Lynden Mayors spoke Pro-Terminal (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, marina, James Wells, VClib, aliasalias

    according to the Bellingham Herald.

    So as much as we'd like to blame ringers from Seattle, the reality is more nuanced.    Folks like the Mayors don't give a shit about the ecological apocalypse as long as there are jobs in their communities:

    Among the first speakers in support of the project were Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen and Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis.

    Jensen said the existing industries on the deep-water shoreline west of Ferndale have been good neighbors that have run clean operations while providing jobs and tax revenue. Gateway Pacific could do the same.

    "Our support for the project is not unconditional," Jensen said. "It never has been. We want them to be good neighbors like we have here now."

    Korthuis agreed, adding that the area has long been zoned for industrial development.

    "Permitting agencies should not interfere with the lawful conduct of commerce," Korthuis said.

    Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/...

    •  I heard the Lynden Mayor Yuck! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shuksan Tahoma, aliasalias, Creosote

      “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Lefty Coaster on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 07:31:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lynden is a town so principled (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Coaster

        they do not allow alcohol to be sold.

        They are not so principled as to refuse the alcohol tax revenue, which in Washington state is distributed on a per capita basis.

        If I wasn't so lazy, I'd change my sig quote for this post to "Puritan— Someone who lies awake at night worrying that somewhere, someone is happy." —H.L. Mencken

        William O. Douglas- “I am for the individual over government, government over big business and the environment over all.”

        by WaltK on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 12:15:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is serious industry bullshit right here: (7+ / 0-)
    "Permitting agencies should not interfere with the lawful conduct of commerce," Korthuis said.
    She's been had.

    The whole REASON for these permitting agencies is to make sure that conditions and laws are being covered. Her opposition sounds like something directly from the energy mongers.

    Someone needs to set her straight about this right away.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 07:48:31 PM PST

    •  then she won't complain if her home becomes a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells, Creosote

      toxic waste dump site  because there is a LOT of money in that.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 10:20:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But she's from Lynden, (0+ / 0-)

      Home to a very large group of hypocritically smug people who will push for development at everyone else' expense as long as it is somewhere other than Lynden.

      I grew up in Bellingham, the county seat, and lived in Whatcom county a large chunk of my life. Lynden has been a proverbial pain in the ass to the rest of the county for decades because of a large, outspoken Christian(ist) population. They are not the largest city, in fact only about 12,000 folks live there, but they do believe that if you are not of them, then you are going to Hell.

      A large number of Dutch Reformed Church immigrants settled in Lynden in the late 1800's, and have set the tone for the community since then. The ancestral homeland is considered an abomination because of liberality and secularism, thus it is damned.

      They truly believe that the Earth is for the taking and exploitation of all resources, since Heaven awaits and it is perfect. My grandfather's second wife was born and raised there, although she wasn't 'Dutch.' She couldn't stand it and left at 17. She still hated the place when she passed away in her late 80's.

      Think of the mayor like Michele Bachmann, only a Dutch version.

  •  It's a travesty (6+ / 0-)

    Both the plan itself, and the fact that at the hearings, only a few can speak.

    I once attended a hearing with 700 people. It went on into the wee hours of the morning, so that everyone could speak. The feds started limiting hearings and speakers after that.

    •  the thing is that it was more of a show than a (6+ / 0-)

      hearing (first part) because almost NOTHING the first 75 speakers had to say had anything to do with the scoping process.
      It was pointed out several times to the audience in general what a scoping comment was, and that it was all that was going to matter in the final decision, the entire purpose of the event etc., but one person after another in green shirts got up there and might as well have talked about baseball or their bowling score. A good number of them were stump stupid comments and even brought laughter from the crowd .
      I was sitting near the front watching the people on the panel sit there taking almost no notes for the first 70 people and the reason was obvious,nothing they were hearing warranted it.
      There is no need to make note of how old someone was, what they thought about fish, how long someone had lived there, that they wanted jobs, that they didn't care about butterflies in the Amazon (no joke, that was said) and I doubt the panel failed to notice a lot of people so worried about future jobs were well past the hiring stage right now.  
      But around speaker number 75 and beyond I saw them do a lot of note taking because they were hearing scoping comments, not personal meanderings ,and they were excellent comments BUT by then the crowd was gone.

      One important difference to the image painted by the B'ham Herald and reality, is that most of what the people babbled in support of the coal dump was duly ignored but there were great comments from opponents that had them dutifully taking notes.
      In reality (on the record) opponents of the coal dump  won the day, in the orchestrated show the babblers won.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 11:09:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Spokane Hearing is NOT on the 12th!!!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, Lefty Coaster

    Tuesday, Dec. 4
    3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
    Spokane County Fairgrounds
    Havana St., Spokane

    Hearing on the 12th is in Vancouver:
    3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
    Clark College, Gaiser Student Center
    1933 Fort Vancouver Way
    Vancouver, Washington 98663

    William O. Douglas- “I am for the individual over government, government over big business and the environment over all.”

    by WaltK on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 12:08:46 AM PST

    •  Oops (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WaltK

      I got it right once and wrong once. Fixed

      “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Lefty Coaster on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:09:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks LC! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    I expected this outcome at Ferndale: stacking the deck is common enough.

    That proposed oil terminal at Grays Harbor is a bad idea all around. Too much water, too long and bad a track to get there, what could wrong? Grays Harbor: shooting themselves in the foot since 1975 (or so).

    Side note: I read "Trains" magazine on a monthly basis. They have a couple of comments in at least two different articles in the December issue that railroad coal traffic is falling fast across the country. The closing of power plants, cheap natural gas, and decreasing exports are given as the main reasons for the slowdown. Given this, we have a wedge against the terminals being built at all. Why destroy so much for next to no actual gain and only long term pain?

    Cherry Point has a very long history of proposed projects that completely and utterly failed to gain permission for building, going back to the 1960's. All of them promised long term employment and no harm: no jobs other than lobbyists' were ever created, and the harm would have been total destruction of the environment and shoreline of that area.

    As Dogs are fuzzy said above, this is Big Coal, and we will probably have to go to the trenches before this dies.

  •  Thanks for posting LC. I'm always working (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    during these meeting but I've submitted written comments, door knocked and wrote LTE"s.  I fear we are fighting an uphill battle with insanity.  

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:31:07 AM PST

  •  Has anybody counted up the number of jobs (0+ / 0-)

    that will be lost? Just curious. Our paper mill in Camas is likely to fall victim because it is built on both sides of the tracks. At last count 486 jobs here, those would be good union jobs in spite of the Koch brother owners......Unless my math is incorrect just this one mill closing would eliminate any job gains they are proclaiming for all of the coal ports and the railroad combined.

    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:22:30 PM PST

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