Little old “Whatcom County” has begun to receive national attention. Why? Well because of coal and the pending approval of the Gateway Pacific Terminal(GPT) project to legally secure the permits needed for development of their dry bulk goods shipping terminal.
The National Journal has posted an article titled:
Even MSNBC is weighing in on our local election with this video:
The environmentalist groups have successfully focused the media to portray the only possible product the GPT terminal could or would ship as coal. That in itself is laughable on its face. Why would a multi-national company such as SSA Marine do something so shortshighted? The answer? They would not endeavor to develop this shipping terminal exclusively for coal, and have designed into this project the ability to ship a variety of “dry bulk goods.” The fact that currently there are no other potential areas “legally designated” to put in a much needed shipping terminal along the west coast of the United States, was left out of the National Journal article and the MSNBC video. Those of us from Whatcom County who understand the need to have good jobs and a sustainable, diverse economic platform know better. There is going to be a lot of competition for this type of facility to be built in Canada or Mexico, if it is not built right here in little old Whatcom County.
“The Bellingham Community Bill of Rights,” developed by CELDF as part of their Democracy School Agenda and promoted by many individuals who are members of, Transition Whatcom; attempted to derail this project but was found to be unconstitutional and pulled from the Whatcom County 2012 Election ballot. The nonprofit group, Transition Whatcom, is a local movement, but is global in scale and are known as Transition Networks. (Here in Whatcom County we have had and still do have a number of political leaders who are members of Transition Whatcom, such as Bellingham City Councilperson, Stan Snapp and Whatcom County Councilperson Carl Weimer.) One of the stated goals for Transition Groups is to power down the world and to accomplish this they seek to banish all fossil fuels from human use. Ask the people living in third world nations what it is like to be denied the ability to have abundant and affordable energy? Ask the people from third world nations how many of their family members have died because they are denied the ability to have access to affordable energy to power their homes and communities; to give them heat and refrigeration; to sanitize their water; to develop adequate transportation systems and independently grow their food needs? Ask yourself, should we allow this type of thinking to drive us back into the Dark Ages?
The 2013 local election of candidates should be driven by what the community as a whole votes for, and the GPT project should be driven by what is legal and scientifically proven; not driven by who has the best propoganda machine out there. So it is my belief that it is up to all of us who do have a “dog in this hunt,” to ask the Council and the Voters to filter out the big bucks and the big media…do what’s right for Whatcom County now and for its future.
~ Kris Halterman
I will close this post with two comments. One from current (and running unopposed for his re-election) City of Bellingham Councilperson, Michale Lilliquist and the other from current Whatcom County Planning Commissioner and candidate for Whatcom County Council, Michelle Luke.
Comment from MICHAEL LILLIQUIST:
“This issue is on everyone’s lips, and passions … are running high,” says Michael Lilliquist, a city council member in Bellingham. “But even the candidates who have a clear opinion about it can’t say what they think.” Lilliquist, who vehemently opposes the terminal, says the way for voters like him to figure out how candidates stand will be by listening to buzzwords—and their own gut. “We have to listen to how they convey their value system, their political and philosophical touchstones. You have to kind of decode it. Do they talk about prosperity … and jobs? Do they talk about sustainability and climate change?… You have to intuit.”
Comment from MICHELLE LUKE:
National Journal Article MSNBC / Small Town-Big Election Bham Herald July 5th Lilliquist Editorial
Candidate Michelle Luke, who currently chairs the county’s planning commission, seemed to offer hints of her views to National Journal. “The environmental groups are powerful; they’ve got attorneys, and they’ve changed local participation on the issues,” she says. Of the impact of the terminal, she says, “Everybody here wants to protect what we have, but we also have to maintain our economy.”