Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mr. Peabody's coal trains in Bellingham?

This was forwarded to me by a friend this morning.

Dear Whatcom County Resident:

Perhaps you’ve heard. Peabody Coal wants to make Whatcom County home to a port exporting as much as 48 million tons of coal per year. That’s right – coal. What you likely haven’t heard, is that the Whatcom County Council will be voting on a resolution in favor of this project TONIGHT at their bi-weekly meeting. That’s because it was added as an agenda revision at 3:15pm yesterday and made public sometime after that.

The Council is voting with virtually no information about how this project would affect public health, clean air and water and traffic in Whatcom County. The Council is moving ahead based on assurances by Peabody Coal and the project developer who stand to make big profits from this project. Is that how we should be doing business in Whatcom County?



UPDATE in response to an email I sent to the Whatcom County Council:



3. Resolution encouraging industrial investment in the region’s
economic vitality (AB2011-115)


What is going on here? Odd, isn't it?

UPDATE: March 17, 2011 -- Email from Whatcom County Council member:

I am sorry you got the impression that the county council was approving a resolution for coal transportation to Cherry Point. The draft resolution that was written by a council member was given to the rest of us council members late Monday or early Tuesday. There was no mention of coal transportation. It was a resolution encouraging industrial investment in the region's economic vitality. Further, a resolution has no force of law. The draft was withdrawn. There was no vote. This was not some secret deal done behind closed doors. It was written by an individual council member. Even though it was withdrawn, I believe it is considered a public document since we received it so you can request a copy at the council office or e-mail me at bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us or call me at 384-2762 if you would like a copy.

Regarding coal, I know little about coal except what I have read from e-mails I have received in the last two days. I believe, if there is any application, eventually the issue may come before the council but I don't believe it would happen for many months. There would be plenty of public process before any decisions could be made. Any decisions of this magnitude require adequate time for details, deliberation, and public process. I always educate myself before voting on any issue so I sure wouldn't be voting on an issue about which I had no background. Obtaining background would take time on anything specific and of an industrial nature because I do my own research instead of just accepting what anyone tells me. I appreciate being given information but that is where I start, not end, in educating myself. I can't speak for the other council members but I would be surprised if they do not process issues the same way.

Please send all e-mail correspondence, including any questions or comments about this to my council address, bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us for retention of complete public records.

Thank you.

Barbara Brenner, Whatcom County Council Member

1 comment:

Taradharma said...

hmmm...curious. Perhaps the council realized they'd move too hastily now that they were getting inquiries. Time for a letter to the newspaper urging citizens to stay in contact with the council on this matter.