Transition Whatcom

Edited by Julie Carpenter from a message originally compiled and sent by Ken Kaliher, a community-minded neighbor.


If you, your neighbors, or others you know are concerned about the Cherry Point proposal, here are some examples of ways you and they can act on that concern:

   -- Read up on the issue on the Community Wise Bellingham (CWB), RE-Sources, Climate Solutions, Sierra Club, and other websites*. SEE LINKS BELOW.

      --- CWB's website has very helpful "Act," "FAQ," "Issues" and "Learn" pages, and an extensive, searchable "Library" of media reports and numerous other references and resources.

      --- RE-Sources’ website also has links to a fact sheet, media reports, video links including the complete 70-minute City Club forum on Cherry Point held on April 27, and more.
   -- Sign CWB's Bellingham and/or Whatcom County petitions, and the RE-Sources position statement, to help show the level of local public concern.
   -- Register to receive SEPA and NEPA notices (of state and federal environmental reviews), another way to show local concern; there's an easy link on CWB's Act page*.
   -- Sign up for CWB's mailing list through the link on its Act page (there's also a link there to contribute money).
   -- Sign up on RE-Source's homepage to receive its monthly newsletters (there's a "Donate Now" link there, too).
   -- Download and share RE-Source's two-page fact sheet/poster.
   -- Write to elected officials, conveniently listed on CWB's Act page, to express concerns. 

-- Keep informed by regularly checking RE-Source's Blog, at
   -- Pick up a "Train ?" button at Village Books and wear it (and donate to CWB to help pay for more buttons).
   -- Volunteer to help CWB via their Act page; they're new, they're small, and they're all volunteers.
   -- DO SOMETHING TO TAKE ACTION PERSONALLY, then help spread the word to other concerned citizens, in person, via your email contacts, on Facebook, through Twitter, etc.


   The Cherry Point developers want the EIS to exclude “off-site” impacts of the project, such as the noise, coal dust, diesel fumes, vibrations, traffic delays, and other effects of thousands of additional coal trains passing through our community per year.  The public must demand that such impacts be included in the EIS to ensure that it happens.  You can help.  And if you know any others who are concerned about this issue, please forward this information to them.

   Thank you for your interest, and for caring about our community.

* Websites:

   -- “Act” page:

   -- Cherry Point proposal:

   -- Blog:

   -- Clean energy in Washington:

   -- Coal-free Washington:

   -- Public Affairs Office e-mail:



The above message and information was edited from a message originally compiled and sent by Ken Kaliher, a community-minded neighbor. We have Ken’s permission to forward this email and information to others. Thank you Ken.

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Here's another email, written by Sara Mostad, MD


What you can do:
1)      Stay abreast of the issue by following developments on websites for RE-Sources and CommunityWise Bellingham.  Both sites have a great deal of information, interesting articles, links to numerous relevant sites and on-line petitions to sign.
2) Attend an informational meeting at the Fairhaven Village Green t....  Internationally renowned environmental journalist, Bill McKibben, will be speaking.  There will be local bands and information booths.  More information at:
3) Attend a meeting hosted by Mayor Pike on June 1 at 6 pm in the large courtroom at Bellingham Municipal Court.  This meeting is to provide area residents a preliminary chance to identify impacts that should be studied during future review of the proposed project.
4)      If you don’t have time to get personally involved, consider donating money to RE-Sources or CommunityWise Bellingham … or do both!
5)      Write to Bellingham City Council and Whatcom County Council members.  Their names, addresses and email addresses are all readily available through links on the CommunityWise Bellingham site     
6)      Inform everyone you know, send emails to whoever is in your sphere of influence (work groups, school rosters, PTAs, friends).  You are welcome to forward this email in total or in part—or rewrite some or all of it.
Final Important Note:
In recent years, coal terminals have been planned in several Oregon and Washington coastal locations south of us (including Portland, Tacoma, and smaller places) and these communities have successfully shut them out.  Let us engage Whatcom County in defending our gorgeous natural environment, vibrant city and fragile ecosystems—and  preserve the purity of our air and water so that we and our children and their children can enjoy long and healthy lives. 
With fervent hope of saving our community from this disaster,
(Sara Mostad, MD, PhD)

Great to see so many people tonight at the Village Green for the Bill McKibben talk!


Update on the Mayor's Forum, June 1, 2011:


Posted: May 31, 2011 4:32:09 PM PDT

Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike is hosting a June 1 “listening session,” inviting the Bellingham community to help identify the scope of environmental review for SSA Marine’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point.

Pike said his aim is to continue community dialogue and prepare for formal environmental review, which will be conducted by county, state and federal officials once SSA applies for permits.

The meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 in the large courtroom at Bellingham Municipal Court, 2014 C Street.  Pike said that he expects a large turnout and asks participants to be patient and help contribute to a civil, respectful dialogue.

He said he is hosting this meeting to provide area residents a preliminary chance to identify impacts that should be studied during future environmental review of the proposed project. 

Jean Melious, local land use attorney and university faculty member, will help frame the discussion by providing a brief overview of the process and categories of issues that are typically addressed during environmental review. 

“These processes are intended to help public officials make decisions that are based on understanding of environmental consequences, and take actions that protect, restore and enhance the environment,” Melious said, adding that the more specific people can be in their comments about environmental impacts and possible alternatives, the more helpful they will be in shaping the process.

Pike said comments collected will be provided to the appropriate regulatory agencies to support a triple-bottom-line approach to reviewing the proposal, considering its environmental, social and economic impacts. While Pike says he is encouraging community dialog, he emphasizes that the City government does not have regulatory authority over the proposed project.

City Council requests scope include Bellingham
The Bellingham City Council last week delivered a statement to Whatcom County and federal officials, noting that the City Council believes “that the proposed expansion of the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point will have significant consequences for the community of Bellingham.” The letter urges officials to ensure that the scope of the EIS include assessment of increased cargo rail traffic passing through Bellingham.

“The Mayor and City Council are in firm agreement that the scope of any EIS should include the entire transit corridor throughout community and not just the proposed terminal’s rural site in Whatcom County,” the letter, signed by Council President Stan Snapp on behalf of the City Council, states.


Media Contacts:
Mayor Dan Pike, 360-778-8100
Bellingham City Council President Stan Snapp, 360-778-8200

David, thanks for the update.  Following the talk this evening there was mention of a rally at 5:30 pm planned to start on State Street, I think near Rudy's Pizzeria.  Did you or anyone else catch where exactly it will be?


I haven't heard anything about a rally.

 I wonder how the legal doctrine of “Appearance of Fairness” is related to tonights meeting with the city mayor? I wonder how this meeting is related to upcoming elections, and how it is related to the red-light-camera issues, and the legal agreement signed with the camera company, which is part of Goldman Sacks....the same company associated with the coal issues. This link from blog of Jean Melious is worth rereading: 


quote: “What is “Appearance of Fairness”? It’s a legal doctrine, partly created in court cases and partly written down in a statute (chapter 42.36 RCW), that is intended to “instill and maintain confidence in the fairness of government proceedings.”* It is “intended to protect against actual bias, prejudice, improper influence, or favoritism. It is also aimed at curbing conditions that create suspicion, misinterpretation, prejudgment, partiality, and conflicts of interest.”

What does “Fairness” Mean? It means that hearings are supposed to be fair and that decision makers are supposed to be free of bias. Local land use decisions have been invalidated when “[h]earings appeared unfair or public officials with apparently improper motives failed to disqualify themselves from the decision-making process.”  endquote

(Thank JC & Jean & Dave for info)

Another link from our rural neighbors & professional researchers -


Wow, what a turn out to the event hosted by the Mayor.  An overflow crowd, so there was a big crowd of people outside, which eventually turned into something like a party, with lots of friends and familiar faces.


If anyone reading this was able to get inside for the actual meeting, we'd appreciate a report.

Yay to Mayor Pike for opposing this however ultimately it will be up to the County Council to make the final SEPA decision. Lets make sure we have a majority of Council members who oppose this. As of now that is not the case. Pay attention to who is running this November, if we have that long.

I was able to get into the meeting and give testimony right before 8 pm.  Great comments were made.

A doctor spoke on behalf of a coalition of local doctors, stating the health concerns all along the track route, not just at the terminal.  Another fellow talked about touring the Twaussen (SP?) BC facility and what it has done to the surrounding community.  Marian Beddill said it so well ~ NO COAL means NO COAL.  The Bellingham Herald blew out of proportion the catcalling and comments.  The fellow next to me waiting to testify said something to the coal terminal supporter, who then reacted and challenged him.  Almost a brawl, but it was quickly toned down. 

Although Mayor Pike cannot make the ultimate decision, there are things Bellingham can do to force the issue and have BNSF upgrade the BNSF upgrade the track crossings.  I have sent my letter in to the editor at the Herald regarding the safety of these crossings for pedestrians & bicyclists, and also delays to traffic.  I would like to see Mayor Jensen of Ferndale also offer a public forum.  Ferndale already has the cumulative impacts of the 2 oil refineries and Intalco Aluminum smelter on our air quality.  Adding coal to that mix is really not fair to our community.   We should also be putting pressure on the DNR also as they own the land where SSA will have to get a lease.   

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