The question has come to a head: Good Jobs OR clean environment, as if these two were mutually exclusive. We can all debate which employers are good and evil, but for all of us employers are necessary if we want to stay in Whatcom County. As we might say on the farm, “They are the cow that supplies our milk, both in the paychecks they write and the taxes they pay.”
It does us no good to shut that messy cow out of the barn and starve her. It is better to bring her into the barn so that she continues to produce milk and care for the environment she lives in. We have been managing this relationship on our farms for generations. That is why I am dumbfounded that some would have us believe that the excellent jobs at Cherry Point and a clean environment are mutually exclusive.
In the olden days of agriculture “clean environment” was a man with a shovel behind the cow, a back breaking nasty job. So we invented methods to ease the difficulty of caring for that milk producing cow and improved the quality of our barn’s environments for both the cow and farmer. We only need to look around us and see that every business here in Whatcom County has done the same. We are all, as we are financially able, making this a better place to work and live.
Sometimes, on the farm, it helps to bring a new breed of cow into the herd to strengthen it. The new cow does not mean the farmer shirks his duties to the rest of the herd. There is no reason to assume that if a new business comes to Whatcom County, we will stop taking care of this place we love. There may be challenges ahead, but we are bright enough here to determine how to keep our barns clean and cows happy. We can have BOTH great jobs and a clean environment.
Let’s elect people who will not shut the barn door on the new cows that want to come in. Let’s elect people that believe we can manage BOTH good jobs and a clean environment.
~ Lorraine Newman