The Whatcom Tea Party (WTP) organized an information and debate between Craig Cole (Gateway Pacific Terminal – GPT) and Terry Wechsler (Power Past Coal) for Oct. 9th, 2013, but unfortunately Ms. Wechsler was forced to withdraw from the debate last Thursday. Apparently Ms. Wechsler wished to participate in the debate, but the Power Past Coal organization asked her to withdraw due to the close proximity of the upcoming November 2013, general election. The WTP informed Mr. Cole of Ms. Wechsler’s withdrawal from the debate and Mr. Cole agreed that he would still address the audience at the general meeting. Mr. Cole thought that he might be able to find another anti-GPT spokesperson to fill-in for Ms. Wechsler, but did not succeed in his search.
The attendance was light, but those who were in attendance came to ask questions. There were some in the audience who sincerely wanted to know more about the project, but most were curious about things like:
How will the Washington State Department of Ecology’s globalized scoping affect the process? Answer: No one knows. The type of scoping that the WSDOE is requiring to be done has never been done before. No one at WSDOE has explained how they will be able to gather and quantify the data, how much time it will take, or what the costs will be.
With changing energy demands, new power plants and upgraded coal facilities in China, what is the risk that the demand for coal will not be there in the future? Answer: That is why SSA is designing a dry bulk commodities port that will be capable of shipping out other forms of commodities such as, wheat, corn and say potash. The Washington Farm Bureau is very interested in seeing the GPT project constructed. They understand that this project would be a game changer for all farming exports, local or otherwise.
How will the recent action by the Shoreline Hearings Board to revoke the permits given to Westway and Imperium, for rail-line expansion, effect the GPT project? Answer: We do not know at this time.
How many local jobs are expected from the GPT project? Answer: Approximately 1200 jobs for the full build out of the project.
Does the Whatcom Democrat Cherry Point Resolution mean that the local tribes will fight against the GPT project? Answer: We are still currently in talks with the tribal leaders. What we have seen reported by the Whatcom Democrats, in the media and the anti-GPT people is not the whole story, or the tribal council(s). It has caused a lot of confusion and frustration even for local Democrats that a small contingency of the members voted on such an extreme resolution; No additional industrial, commercial or residential development on or adjacent to Cherry Point. No water rights to be given other than for potable human consumption.
How long before you can expect a determination from the environmental impact studies? Answer: Whatcom County (local) and the Army Corp of Engineers (Federal) are conducting the traditional scoping studies. The Department of Ecology (state) is taking a road that no government agency has taken. Even former State of Washington Governor Gregoire warned the DOE to be careful of what they wish for. The precedent they are setting will likely affect all industry in the State of Washington. When Boeing needs to expand, will they be required to be scrutinized in the same way? It would seem so. This will likely have a long term affect and no one knows the what that outcome will be.
Here is a link to the Gateway Pacific Terminal PowerPoint presentation that has been presented at many GPT events and the full version of the Whatcom Tea Party general meeting:GPT Presentation Full WTP Meeting & GPT Townhall
During the Q&A of the evenings presentation, a gentleman by the name of Bill Hinely asked if he might address the audience for about 10 min. Mr. Hinely asked to express the views we would have heard if the anti-GPT spokesperson had attended the meeting. The audience welcomed Mr. Hinely to address them. Mr. Hinely stated that he belongs to almost every environmental group there is and attested to the need for everyone to understand the interconnectivity that all things on earth have with each other. But rather than my interpretation of Mr. Hinely’s address to the audience, I believe that you should hear it directly from Mr. Hinely. The WTP always video tapes their meetings when hosting speaker(s) at their events. So, courtesy of the WTP I have been given the 10 minute clip of Mr. Hinely’s comments to the audience. Anti-GPT Statement
My personal thoughts on Mr. Hinely’s address is this. Everyone is entitled to have their own free thoughts and beliefs. That is what liberty is all about. Free speech. Free thought. And, so long as you are not intentionally harming (based on scientific proof, not based on a potential to harm) and you are engaged in lawful activity, you are free to do so. Mr. Hinely’s approach is based on his belief that because of total interconnectivity in all things on earth, we may no longer partake in activities that may have a negative effect on the planet. Let me repeat that thought; No negative effect on any part of Mother Earth.
Mr. Hinely is entitled to believe what he so passionately does, but so do the rest of us. If we believe that there is no evidence of global warming (the earth has had no warming trends for the past 15 years and is in fact headed into a cooling trend from the studies reported to the IPCC) and that human caused climate anything has not occurred. The prior data used by the IPCC was proven to have been improperly collected (temperature gauges were staged in areas that did not represent natural climate conditions) and were proven to have been altered to hide the Mediterranean warming period. This flawed data has been used to funnel trillions of dollars to find a solution to a problem that does not exist in any scientifically provable manner. Saying something is so, does not make it true.
~ Kris Halterman