SSA already started construction at Cherry Point

Permalink +

Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 11:11 am  //  John Servais

Carl Weimer standing on a new road clearing at Cherry Point. Photo courtesy of Carl's blog. See link in article.

SSA is destroying wetlands, clearing forests, building roads, and preparing their land at Cherry Point for the coal port. Without permits of any kind. County Planning was ignorant of it until Carl Weimer, walking his dog out there, discovered the clearing and road building work and asked the planning department about it.

Carl Weimer of the Whatcom County Council has posted on his blog a report and a number of photos showing just this.

If there is an explanation for all this, then SSA and Craig Cole should explain it to us. Otherwise, so much for the promises of sensitive, careful environmental development with full compliance of all laws.

Here is a link to the Google Maps view of this area. You can match Carl's snapshots to the area between Longseth and Henry Roads. This is nothing short of SSA starting construction now on the access roads and clearing forest as they prepare the area for building their extensive rail yards for the coal port. 

Would Pete Kremen care to explain how his department - under his careful control - has allowed this massive illegal land clearing to take place?  Does Pete want to plead ignorance?  The buck stops with Pete. 

Clayton Petree  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 11:50 am

What the heck?!?!?

Damon Gray  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 11:59 am

I honestly don’t know yet where I will land on the issue of the coal port at Cherry Point.  At this point, there is just too much that is not known.  I know there are strong opinions on both sides, and these strong opinions are driving people to say and do things that occasionally arch the eyebrows and cause the head to wag.  I also know that, having read Carl’s bolg posting, if what he is saying is accurate, I find it very disturbing.  Even if I were a staunch advocate in favor of the coal port, procedures must be followed, and it is horribly presumptuous to simply begin clearing without proper permitting and authorizations secured. Particularly given the intense public scrutiny surrounding this issue, regardless of one’s position, this move by SSC, if it is indeed what Carl has represented it as being, was just foolish.

Bob Aegerter  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 12:08 pm

John and readers,

SSA’s subcontractor needs to start immediately today to mitigate the damage to the wetlands with the required Best Management Practices before the rains return.  Failure to art promptly and responsively will result in silting of wetlands. 

Has anyone contacted Department of Ecology and Department of Natural Resources?

This was more that foolish or irresponsible.  It was breaking the law.

Bob Aegerter

Tip Johnson  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 12:24 pm

I’m sure it will turn out that these are just access roads needed to install the monitoring wells and, gee, why was Carl trespassing on SSA’s private property anyway?  ;-)

Riley Sweeney  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 12:48 pm

John, you’ve got the aim all wrong. Carl’s article clearly states that the Planning department and the county didn’t know this was happening and had not authorized it. Is Pete Kremen responsible for dogs peeing on bushes, and lamplights flickering?

They are looking into and will get to the bottom of it. It is clear to me that SSA Marine is acting without the proper paperwork or approval, and they should be the subject of your ire.

Tip Johnson  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 1:02 pm

The truth is that SSA has no time to waste. According to leading experts on the coal trade, energy and international trade, there is only a ten year window for selling coal to China.

China has plenty of coal and does not want to import or transport the stuff.  The problem is one of regulatory disconnects referred to as the coal-power conflict.  Regulators of power generation have been unwilling to raise rates enough to cover the costs of mining coal.  This has tanked output from archaic and undercapitalized Village-based enterprises, and caused State-owned, provincial enterprises to also struggle with price while suffering under a dysfunctional, reformed coal regulatory framework.

The Chinese government, recognizing the problem, has plans to build several coal-based industrial centers.  They expect it to take about ten years to create industrial parks where the coal is mined, power generated and factories located.  This will obviate the need to import or transport, leaving them shipping materials in and product out, instead. 

You can read all about it here:
+ Link

The bottom line is that there is no margin for delay.  Peeling even three years off the window through challenges and appeals significantly reduces the likelihood of the venture being profitable.  Working hard to delay it five years, almost certainly kills it dead.  Since there is nothing anyone can do to stop trains from taking anything they want anywhere they can, delaying this terminal and the pier are our best hopes of stopping the project.  And it looks like the first opportunity has emerged.

Mary Dickinson  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 1:32 pm

Seriously, this is beyond wrong.  Great sleuthing, Carl.  Paul Drake would be proud of you!  Thanks for getting the word out, John.  I guess these people are above the law, and it shouldn’t apply to them.  Because they are important and special, or something.

David Onkels  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 5:22 pm

You wrote, “SSA is destroying wetlands,...”

I think that is an unsupportable assertion. You have no knowledge that the site includes wetlands.

Matt Krogh  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 5:54 pm

The wetlands delineation for the site is publicly
available at the MAP team site; I will happily link you
to my copy of it if you wish.
The map as drawn by Carl clearly shows road construction through wetlands.

It is an easily supportable and accurate assertion.

David Onkels  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 6:40 pm

So please send me the link, please.

As I’m certain you are aware, wetlands science has evolved. The previous delineation was not developed using the present guidance. My statement stands.

g.h.kirsch  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 9:30 pm

So really, John.  I agree with Riley.  Why would you ever expect Kremen to be responsible for anything in Whatcom county?

You, of all, know what a do nothing he’s always been.  I’d be shocked to find his people in any way engaged in a compliance effort.

How’s the campaign going otherwise, Riley?  Better luck against Larson this time round.

Riley Sweeney  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 10:03 pm

The campaign is going well. You should join us Tuesday, August 2nd for Pete’s campaign kickoff. You should hear about his ideas for moving our county forward.

g.h.kirsch  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 10:34 pm

Hey, ain’t that great. 

After all these years, Pete’s got an idea how to move the county forward.

Well, better late than never!

Riley Sweeney  //  Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 10:44 pm

I will save you a seat, Greg. Wouldn’t want to cast a . . . shadow on our working relationship.

Paul deArmond  //  Sat, Jul 30, 2011, 9:34 am

SSA’s attorney claims this is all covered under previous permit for geotechnical work.  County still silent.  See this article in Crosscut

+ Link

Jean Melious  //  Sat, Jul 30, 2011, 12:59 pm

Of course, if the work was being conducted under the 1997 permits, SSA would have been careful to comply with the settlement agreement.  It would have ensured that the affected wetlands were within the 5.86-acre footprint authorized by the permits and settlement agreement, and it would have implemented the required mitigation, including creating wetlands on another site and conducting a study.  All set forth in the settlement agreement.

Otherwise, it seems like there isn’t just a problem with County requirements, but with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineeers.

I’m glad, though, that SSA has decided to go back to its 1997 proposal.  That will eliminate a lot of controversy in the County.

Matt Krogh  //  Sat, Jul 30, 2011, 5:31 pm

@ Dave Onkels: happy to send you SSA’s own wetland determinations as filed under their 2011 application as of February 28, 2011. Please get me your email—I’ll give you permissions to access it on my Google docs folder, since it’s >20 megabytes of delineation files. (Wait! now that I glance at it, they’re all available here: + Link While they do indicate “2008,” I would suggest that if the project proponent felt they were current as of 2/28/2011, who are we to argue?) Thanks for posting that, Whatcom County.

That written, I’m not convinced wetlands science has changed much in the last five months, but perhaps you’re much farther ahead on that than SSA and their contractors. If you are right, they should certainly consider resurveying their property to ensure they aren’t overly cautious in protecting the environment.

Whatcom County (which, I believe, you have some connection to) has thoughtfully posted the SSA JARPA application. While not in full color like the larger versions (megabyte-wise), the documentation does include several pages of wetland delineations:

+ Link

David Onkels  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 11:09 am

Mr. Krogh,
You wrote, “That written, I’m not convinced wetlands science has changed much in the last five months,...”

You’d be incorrect, and perhaps the following notice from DOE will lead you to reexamine your opinion:

“Amendment to state rules changes the wetland delineation manual

State laws require that wetlands protected under the Growth Management Act and the Shoreline Management Act be delineated using a manual that is developed by Ecology and adopted into rules (RCW 36.70A.175; RCW 90.58.380). The Department of Ecology adopted a wetland delineation manual in 1997 (WAC 173-22-080) that was based on the original 1987 Corps of Engineers manual and subsequent Regulatory Guidance Letters.

During the last few years the Army Corps of Engineers has updated and expanded their delineation manual with regional supplements. To maintain consistency between the state and federal delineations of wetlands, Ecology has repealed WAC 173-22-080 (the state delineation manual) and replaced it with a revision of WAC 173-22-035 that states delineations should be done according to the currently approved federal manual and supplements. The changes are effective, today, March 14, 2011.

The latest federal delineation manual and its supplements should now be used to delineate wetlands in the state.

You can find the federal delineation manual and its supplements on Ecology’s Wetland Delineation web page: + Link

March 14, I’m sure you’ll, agree was less than five months ago.

Please note that the Washington State Code Reviser’s Office web pages have not yet been updated to reflect the rule changes. To see the updated rule language go to: + Link

If you have any questions about wetland delineation, contact:

Tom Hruby, PhD
Senior Ecologist
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia WA 98504
(360) 407-7274

David Onkels  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 11:18 am

Please excuse the insertion of my parenthetical comment into the body of the announcement. For some reason, I have problems with the margins of my comments on NWCitizen disappearing in the task pane. This has occurred with different computers and different browsers for several years.

Here’s the header from the DOE email:
From: ECY RE Wetlands Information [mailto:wetlandsinformation@ECY.WA.GOV]
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 5:18 PM
Subject: Amendment to state rules changes the wetland delineation manual

Matt Krogh  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 11:43 am

@Dave Onkels:

I’ve got the same line-wrap margin problem too. Wonder if it’s the choice of browser?

Re. your statement that I am incorrect: please note that I wrote about wetlands science not changing in the last five months, not wetlands regulations. Thank you for the updated regulations links.

Can you please explain why you believe harmonizing the State’s delineation manual with the USACE manual makes it LESS likely for the corridors Carl mapped to cut through wetlands?

After all, the point of contention is whether or not those corridors cut through our destroyed wetlands, wetlands which exist both on SSA’s consultants’ maps (did they use USACE or State manual? I have no idea) and the County’s, and are also wetlands over which USACE has claimed jurisdiction for this project.

Until a new delineation is made—IF a new delineation is made—our best available options are the determinations made by SSA themselves. And they clearly show wetlands throughout the newly cleared areas.

Jean Melious  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 12:38 pm

Dave Onkel’s whole line of attack is confusing me.  If, as SSA’s attorney indicated, the company is taking action to its 1997 permit, the wetlands that it is permitted to alter are identified by the settlement agreement.  New delineation requirements wouldn’t really matter.

If SSA isn’t going back to its 1997 project, how much do the “new” delineation requirements matter?  Here’s what the Department of Ecology has to say- link is + Link

“Hasn?t the federal government been requiring the use of this manual and regional supplements for the last two years?

Yes. Ecology amended its rules to be consistent with Army Corps of Engineers requirements. Starting in 2008, the Corps required the use of its delineation manual and its interim regional supplements. The final regional supplements were released in 2010. During the interim period, Ecology accepted data forms from both the federal and state delineation manuals.

If applicants have to use two different manuals, will this result in two different delineated boundaries?

Based on our experience, it is very rare that wetland boundaries differ when applying the state manual and the new federal manual with applicable supplements. When applied correctly, the two manuals should result in the same boundary. When this is not the case, the applicant should consult with Corps or Ecology wetlands specialists to help determine whether the difference is appropriate.”

Sorry, Dave. In any event, for the Corps to exercise its jusrisdiction over wetlands, it seems most likely that the wetlands were delineated under the Corps manual in the first place.

David Onkels  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 5:50 pm

“When applied correctly, (italics mine) the two manuals should result in the same boundary. When this is not the case, the applicant should consult with Corps or Ecology wetlands specialists to help determine whether the difference is appropriate.?

That’s my point. I’ve read the studies and the original reports submitted in support of them.

I believe that the “wetland consultants” who prepared the original reports were not competent to do the job, and that the reports they submitted are false, and that the wetlands delineated by them are far more extensive than the geohydrology on the site would suggest.

I further note that the report, if there is one in fact, is not submitted over the signature of a person licensed by the State of Washington to conduct hydrogeological studies.

I think that my observations have implications for SSA’s actions going forward.

I believe in science and law, and I think that neither SSA nor Whatcom County has been well served to date.

David Onkels  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 6:06 pm

I wrote, ” I believe that the ?wetland consultants? who prepared the original reports were not competent to do the job, and that the reports they submitted are false, and that the wetlands delineated by them are far more extensive than the geohydrology on the site would suggest.”

I should have written, “It is my opinion that the “wetland consultants”...”

I usually take care to separate belief from opinion and not to substitute “I believe” for “I think”.

I do not claim, of course, competence in the fields of Hydrogeology and “Wetlands Science”. My opinion is my own, and I crave data, especially when it is used to support public policy positions. That is especially true with this project, where I have serious questions about the data and conclusions of consultants that I’ve seen to date.

It would be handy, given the established wrap problem, to at least have a “preview” function here.

On my browser. the “submit” button is a “mit” button.

David Onkels  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 7:02 pm

A word used by me, in an earlier post:  “geohydrology.”

It’s “Hydrogeology”, of course.

Donna Starr  //  Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 10:15 pm

Did I read Tip Johnson correctly?  After 10 years China will not want any more of our coal?  Then why the investment and social disaster?  Poor communities cut in half by the tracks!

Michael McAuley  //  Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 12:24 am

Thanks for the link Tip.

Rob Stratton  //  Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 7:38 am

Seriously did Carl have permission to be there? Is this land open to the public?

Shane Roth  //  Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 12:31 pm

@Rob Stratton

Seriously… you think we are going to change the subject

just because you don’t want to talk about this?

Nice try.

Riley Sweeney  //  Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 9:45 pm

Check out the King5 report about this issue. Tough words from our county executive.
+ Link
Pete Kremen said “For them to disregard our regulations on something this important just amazes me.” He is pushing for something much stronger than a “slap on the wrist.”

Rob Stratton  //  Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 7:48 am

Nice dodge Shane. I noticed you didn’t answer my question? I wasn’t trying to change the subject and I have no problem talking about it. Why are you assuming so much? You know what they say about those that assume. Because my viewpoint may be different than yours you are going to resort to demagoguery instead of answering a sincere question?

It makes a big difference to me whether he had the right to be there or not. If he did the report has more weight about what he discovered if he trespassed and broke the law to be there than that’s is a worse violation than someone using their private property as they wish.

Shane Roth  //  Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 11:36 am

@Rob Stratton

As I have said before elsewhere, I’ll repeat here.

The SSA Marine property is open to hunting.

Carl didn’t need permission from SSA Marine to go on that

property with a rifle to shoot a deer.

Therefore, he does not need permission to go on that

same property and shoot a picture.

If Carl can exercise his second amendment rights on that

land, then he is able to exercise his first amendment

rights on that land also.

A mall is also private property, but no one needs

permission from the mall owners to enter the mall and take


Once you invite the public onto your private property,

your expectation of privacy is severely and


Dodge that.

Garin Wallace, aka Wally  //  Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 5:42 pm

Really Shane?  When a property owner allows hunters on their land, they are also saying that non-hunters are welcome to take pictures, measure, map you property and publish on the internet? hmmm??

So when I give the cable guy permission to come in and replace a box, I am also giving him permission to take pictures, measure my railing, check for drippy faucets, document light bulb types, see which way the TP unrolls, then publish his findings on the internet and call his friends downtown and tell them what he feels might be in violation of codes?

At least you’re entertaining if not convincing.

Shane Roth  //  Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 8:35 pm


What I am saying is this… once you agree to allow the public to gain routine access to your land, your reasonable expectation of privacy is diminished.

You are likening SSA Marine, a ginormous corporation, to you being a private home owner and inviting a cable guy to your property for a specific purpose.

The more accurate analogy is to liken SSA Marine to a shopping mall that invites the public at large to their property.

The mall is owned privately. But the mall has no reasonable expectation of privacy within that part of the mall where the public is INVITED to go.

When you allow a cable guy to your home to fix your cable, you retain the same reasonable expectation of privacy as any home owner. The cable guy is not invited to poke around your property and document your day to day living conditions.

I’m going to guess that you have not signed off on having licensed hunters walk onto your property for the purpose of recreational hunting when you aren’t there. If you did, you have agreed to a different expectation of privacy. Like SSA Marine.

A shopping mall can’t accuse someone of trespassing because that person is taking pictures of something that might embarrass the owners of the mall property. The mall invited the general public onto the property, the only reasonable expectation that the mall legally enjoys from the public after that is orderly conduct.

I submit that Carl Weimer was conducting himself in an orderly fashion.

Rob Stratton  //  Thu, Aug 04, 2011, 7:05 am

Shane, simmer down, I can appreciate your “enthusiasm”. But I asked a specific question and didn’t read what you posted “elsewhere”.

Also I might comment that I don’t agree with your reasoning. Because a property owners opens his property to a certain class of people does not mean it is open to everyone. The mall and any private property person can also set rules such as “no photos”, “no recording” etc. Just went to Up Front Theater and although I really wanted a picture of me and Ryan Stiles, I decided to obey the private establishments rules, I noticed others didn’t.

The Mall can remove anybody for any reason and tell you not to come back. And if you do you will be arrested for trespass. Period, they can set a rule that only people wearing blue shirts can shop here, and if you don’t abide by that rule you have no “right” to be there.

If I as a property owner put limitation on who is allowed on my property I expect those limitations to be followed.

Also you seem to be lacking in knowledge of what the Second Amendment is about. It has nothing to do with hunting or even with personal self defense. I would be more than happy to help you learn more about that if you are willing.

Unless you are a public servant or employee acting in your public duties, you do have an expectation of privacy. Unless certain “public” aspects and situations apply.

Shane Roth  //  Thu, Aug 04, 2011, 10:16 am

@Rob Stratton

I am touched by your concern for me and my enthusiasm. I shall endeavor to follow the lead of the folks who have accused Carl Weimer of criminal conduct without the benefit of facts or law… and “simmer down”. I wouldn’t want to look like I was over reacting now, would I?

SSA Marine actually can’t invite a certain class of people onto its property. This was tried in the South to invite only a certain class of people onto private property (white people) and was found to be unlawful.

The Up Front Theater is also a poor example because the only persons invited inside that private property are individual paying customers… which really isn’t the same thing as a “class of people”. A shopping mall generally doesn’t require the public to pay just to enter the building. A person is free to enter a shopping mall without any expectation of having to buy anything.

While it is true that policies can be set regarding photography, I suspect that no such policies are in place for SSA Marine at Cherry Point, and a citizen can’t be in violation of a policy that doesn’t exist. Furthermore, the right to photograph someone else’s private property from public property is well established, and doesn’t yield to a property owner’s “policy” on the matter.

Also, and this is most important… it is SSA Marine who decides if it has been subject to trespassing. The property owner itself has filed no complaint against Mr Weimer. No one who has complained about this has any legal standing to make such a charge.

There is also the matter of accusing someone of a crime without due process. What does the law say about that?

Rob Stratton  //  Fri, Aug 05, 2011, 8:01 am

You are right Shane the company admitted wrong and haven’t filed charges. And apparently anyone can go traipsing through their property.

But you are absolutely wrong about private property owners not allowing certain folks onto their property.

And trying to equate a “protected” class based on ethnic background is a different beast, and there is a whole separate set of laws that deal with that. And not relative to my point. It would be like saying only hunters are welcome, unless you are (name ethnic background here). Just like Upfront, can’t refuse to sell tickets to people of different ethnic background. It does not matter whether they are selling tickets or not.

But as I pointed out private property owners do have the right to say who can or can’t be there, as I pointed it out in my blue shirt example.

The 2 amendment is a natural right protected and guaranteed by our Federal and State constitution but if I walked into the mall carrying my rifle, they as private property owners have all the right to say “leave” and I would be arrested if I refused. I doubt you would disagree with that now would you?

Like I said if I set limitations and rules for my private property I would expect them to be followed.

Oh and by the way I detest bigotry but feel “protected” class laws concerning private property are unconstitutional.

The War Has Just Begun

Slum landlords are alive and thriving. Over this summer more than 40% of rental units failed the city's initial health and safety inspection.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Sep 16, 2016, 8:02 am
16 comments; last on Sep 26, 2016

MNAC Paddy Whack Give the Dog a Bone

The vital role in city politics of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission (MNAC) has gradually diminished over the past five years and is now at an all time…

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Sep 12, 2016, 1:57 am
10 comments; last on Sep 24, 2016

Chapter 3: City Council Agenda Management

Anne Mackie writes the backstory that tells "the rest of the story" of how the August harsh attacks on citizens by the council had roots in July.

Guest writer
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 1:02 am
1 comments; last on Sep 10, 2016

Reader paid for ads. Click to see all choices.

Housing Forum on Wednesday, Sep 14

The York Neighborhood is sponsoring a forum on housing concerns on Wednesday, Sept 14th at the Garden Methodist Church at 7pm.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Sep 07, 2016, 8:09 am
4 comments; last on Sep 10, 2016

A Big “Never Mind”

Anne Mackie gives us an overview of the planning kerfuffle during August between citizens and the Bham city council. And the bad attitudes of some council members.

Guest writer
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 4:59 am
5 comments; last on Aug 31, 2016

Coal Trains Blocked by Local Protesters

Updated on Monday. An elaborate tripod was erected over the railroad tracks on the bridge over Chuckanut Bay and protesters sat in a sling. 11 hour train stoppage.

John Servais
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 4:56 pm
3 comments; last on Aug 29, 2016

Chapter 2:  Playing the race card

Three emails: April Barker writes about ADUs and her perspective; Anne Mackie and Dick Conoboy respond.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 9:02 pm
6 comments; last on Aug 25, 2016

Temper Tantrum Taints City Council

Council President Pinky Vargas loses it over minor violations of the three-minute comment rule. Is this any way to run a council?

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 3:13 am
11 comments; last on Aug 29, 2016

Anti-Nuclear Weapons ship ‘Golden Rule’ to Visit

Ellen Murphy writes about the sailboat that sailed toward nuclear test site in Pacific in 1958 and will visit Bellingham August 20 - 22. Now protesting modernization of…

Guest writer
Sat, Aug 13, 2016, 11:19 am
1 comments; last on Aug 15, 2016

Hiyu ferry for Lummi Island service - Explained

Jim Dickinson writes: Why the surplus Washington State ferry Hiyu should replace the Whatcom Chief for our Whatcom County ferry service to Lummi Island.

Guest writer
Tue, Jul 12, 2016, 10:55 pm
6 comments; last on Aug 06, 2016

Lummi Island Drawbridge

The Lummi Island ferry is a very old and decrepit vessel. The state ferry system wants to give us a newer one in great condition. Whatcom County says…

Tip Johnson
Sat, Jun 25, 2016, 10:08 pm
6 comments; last on Jun 30, 2016

Options High School: Great idea, wrong site

Tim Paxton guest writes about the defects in planning for the Options High School.

Guest writer
Mon, Jun 06, 2016, 5:03 pm
5 comments; last on Jun 26, 2016

Ferndale volunteers build kids playground

Over 2,000 volunteers have just built a new playground in six days. We do a photo story.

John Servais
Sun, Jun 05, 2016, 8:29 pm
1 comments; last on Jun 06, 2016

Greenways may reverse heron colony buffer purchase this evening

The Greenways Advisory Committee meets this evening and may reverse their May decision to purchase the heron colony buffer woods.

John Servais
Fri, Jun 03, 2016, 12:29 am
10 comments; last on Jun 07, 2016

We need to protect our Great Blue Heron colony

Bellingham's only heron colony needs forested buffer - and the land owner is willing to sell. Greenways has voted to buy it, but our city council must act.

John Servais
Tue, May 31, 2016, 9:51 pm
5 comments; last on Jun 01, 2016

Memorial Day 2016 - Thanking a True Soldier

This veteran, Chris Brown, deserves our deep thanks for his achievement with Growing Veterans as Executive Director, a post that he has left. He will continue as President…

Dick Conoboy
Thu, May 26, 2016, 5:23 am
3 comments; last on Jun 08, 2016

Singing the Comp Plan Blues

As the city council takes up consideration of the comprehensive plan, citizen input is critical. Otherwise in a few years and in response to housing and land use…

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 23, 2016, 5:21 am

Proposed over-water walkway is dead

The planned concrete walkway from Boulevard Park to the Cornwall landfill, using millions in Greenway funds, has been abandoned by Bellingham. We again thank the Lummi.

John Servais
Sat, May 21, 2016, 4:32 pm
11 comments; last on May 26, 2016

Breaking Free: A New Age Ghost Dance

Jay Taber, a strong environmentalist for decades, guest writes a harsh critique of the 350 org anti-fossil fuel demonstrations at the Anacortes oil refineries last weekend.

Guest writer
Wed, May 18, 2016, 4:46 pm
2 comments; last on May 24, 2016

Missing Options High School traffic study

Bellingham School officials expect a slam dunk by Hearing Examiner and city council on street vacation and conditional use permit. By Patrick McKee.

Guest writer
Tue, May 17, 2016, 7:45 pm
2 comments; last on May 18, 2016

Uber: Supporting the Troops?

Uber, the cheap ride taxi company, is targeting the troops to become drivers in ads disguised as articles in publications such as the Army Times.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 16, 2016, 5:20 am

Herons or Oil: Which are long term?

The March Point protestors this weekend will hopefully show serious concern and not disturb the heron colony near the refineries.

John Servais
Sat, May 14, 2016, 9:34 am
2 comments; last on May 15, 2016

No Coal Terminal at Cherry Point - Final

The Seattle office of the Army Corps of Engineers has formally denied a permit for building a coal terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Updated at 4pm.

John Servais
Mon, May 09, 2016, 12:10 pm
4 comments; last on May 09, 2016

Boring, predictable Trump plays to conservative Lynden crowd

Supporters say he will beat Hillary Clinton.

Ralph Schwartz
Sat, May 07, 2016, 10:47 pm
3 comments; last on May 24, 2016

Citizens: BPD dismissive of people of color

Group cites failure to investigate assaults on anti-police-racism marchers

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 7:04 pm
5 comments; last on Aug 25, 2016

An Open Letter to U.S. Representative Rick Larsen

Also to all U.S. Representative candidates in the 1st and 2nd U.S. Congressional districts for the election in 2016

David Camp
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 3:46 pm
1 comments; last on Apr 27, 2016

Five districts pass; GOP incites conservatives to fight map in court

Republicans rolled over and approved the Democrats' map to set the stage for a legal challenge

Ralph Schwartz
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 8:40 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 24, 2016

Unanimous Yes vote for 5 county council districts

GOP vote for Democratic plan to prevent locked committee and then county council becoming decision makers of districting boundaries

John Servais
Wed, Apr 20, 2016, 8:01 pm
1 comments; last on Apr 21, 2016

Report on City Council Retreat

The Bellingham City Council conducted a retreat on 16 April to discuss a number of issues, including a set of proposed strategies to ensure "sustainable services."

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 5:14 am

OregonLNG quits: Cherry Point may be new target

Liquid natural gas terminal is rumored to be in planning stages for Cherry Point as the Oregon proposed LNG plan is abandoned.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 18, 2016, 11:55 am
6 comments; last on Apr 19, 2016

Deck stacked against Republicans at Districting Committee hearing

Fate of new county five-district map remains uncertain.

Ralph Schwartz
Wed, Apr 13, 2016, 10:43 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 14, 2016

Don’t speak at tonight’s Districting Committee hearing

If you do, you better make sure you have something to say that's going to change someone's mind.

Ralph Schwartz
Wed, Apr 13, 2016, 9:09 am
3 comments; last on Apr 14, 2016

Bellingham Planning tries to sneak one through

The Sunnyland residents have just learned they have only today to comment on a huge impacting building project in their neighborhood.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 11, 2016, 1:06 am
11 comments; last on Apr 23, 2016

No sign of agreement as districting committee enters final phase

After a public hearing next week, the committee will be asked to vote on a five-district map for Whatcom County in two weeks.

Ralph Schwartz
Wed, Apr 06, 2016, 9:18 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 09, 2016

Proposed redistricting map for your review

The Districting Master (the official title) has submitted his map for review by the Districting Committee this evening. Here it is for your review.

John Servais
Wed, Apr 06, 2016, 1:14 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 07, 2016

BNSF: A casual approach to railroad safety

At Clayton Beach, we have tracked increasing erosion under railroad tracks and written to the railroads and federal inspectors. To no avail.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 8:17 pm
2 comments; last on Apr 05, 2016

$15 Minimum Wage - Assured Debt Peonage

Accelerating efforts across the U.S. to install a $15 minimum wage are playing into the hands of big business and codifying enormously insufficient wages for years to come.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 5:25 am
2 comments; last on May 24, 2016

Cherry Point coal port development put on ice

Work on EIS put on hold as coal companies wait for Army Corps of Engineers decision. Well, it was not in March. This is not an April 1…

John Servais
Fri, Apr 01, 2016, 3:49 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 02, 2016

Fuller calls on Coast Guard to ‘stand on the right side of history’

Activist contests $10,000 fine for climbing on a Shell oil vessel. Rob Lewis guest writes this report.

Guest writer
Wed, Mar 23, 2016, 2:37 pm

Voting guide for Whatcom Conservation District

Updated Wed, Mar 16. Tuesday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., any registered voter of Whatcom County can vote in person at the conservation district office.

John Servais
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 8:26 pm

Will Cherry Point coal port be denied this week?

Updated 4:30pm. Helena, Montana newspaper says GPT may be denied this week by Army Corps of Engineers. US Rep Zinke panics and accuses Army of politics.

John Servais
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 12:19 am
4 comments; last on Mar 24, 2016

Dems, GOP primed for legal fight over districts

Not even a letter from a coal terminal spokesman can save them now.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 12:04 am
2 comments; last on Mar 17, 2016

Districting maps E and F for reference

We post the next two maps to be discussed at the Districting Committee today, March 14. For the few who might study them and later contribute perspectives.

John Servais
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 1:53 am

Democrats threaten legal action on districting

Legally threatening letter sent by Seattle law firm retained by prominent leading Democratic Party leaders.

John Servais
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 1:06 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 14, 2016

The state of citizen journalism is strong: Two receive deArmond awards

The third annual deArmond dinner celebrated the work of Sandy Robson and Neah Monteiro.

Ralph Schwartz
Fri, Mar 11, 2016, 11:28 pm
2 comments; last on Mar 13, 2016

Potential Oil Exports From Cherry Point—Something else to put on your radar

What almost happened on the coast of Maine could happen here at Cherry Point. Portland, Maine, stopped oil exports - and Whatcom County can also. If we act.

David Camp
Wed, Mar 09, 2016, 11:20 pm

Durham, NH, - Surprise! - Rental Inspections Worked

Durham is an example of the efficacy of rental inspections, putting to bed the unsupported objections of landlords by presenting facts about conditions.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Mar 09, 2016, 2:20 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 12, 2016

Dogged Pursuit of a Failed Vision?

Wherein, we correct some misassumptions but still ask the questions

Tip Johnson
Tue, Mar 08, 2016, 2:47 pm

Districting Committee: GOP accuses Democrats of gerrymandering

The Republicans made concessions on their district map but took a final stand at Nooksack, Everson and Sumas.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Mar 08, 2016, 1:15 am
6 comments; last on Mar 12, 2016

Idea for Our Times: Puget Sound Repair Project

Could this address the real problem with Puget Sound?

Tip Johnson
Mon, Mar 07, 2016, 10:40 am
6 comments; last on Mar 08, 2016

Districting Committee: Republicans lack legal compass

Republicans and Democrats remain far apart. Democrats have the legal high ground, but Republicans would go to court to challenge that if necessary.

Ralph Schwartz
Sun, Mar 06, 2016, 11:39 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 07, 2016

Punishing the Wrong Guys

Wherein someone's gotta do the right thing

Tip Johnson
Tue, Mar 01, 2016, 3:40 pm

D’Angelo undaunted by fine: ‘I had to make the moral choice’

Chiara D'Angelo comes across as emotionally intelligent and uncompromising in her high-stakes Coast Guard hearing.

Ralph Schwartz
Mon, Feb 29, 2016, 11:55 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 01, 2016

Elfo: Enforcement, Litigation or Risks?

Wherein inquiring minds want to know!

Tip Johnson
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 1:24 pm

‘Goodwill’ wanted but lacking on Districting Committee

Republicans focused their efforts on torpedoing the Democrats' five-district proposal at the second committee meeting.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Feb 23, 2016, 5:01 am
4 comments; last on Mar 01, 2016

Anchor-chain activists face hefty fines

The Coast Guard has levied $30,000 in fines on two Bellingham climate activists. They will fight to have the fines dropped.

Ralph Schwartz
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 5:01 am
16 comments; last on Feb 22, 2016

Jail Reform: Music to My Ears

Wherein sanity may finally be approaching a nagging jail issue

Tip Johnson
Sun, Feb 14, 2016, 8:54 pm
2 comments; last on Feb 19, 2016

Redistricting: Democrats may have upper hand

Republicans and Democrats traded barbs on the first day of the Districting Committee, but Dems may have won the first battle.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Feb 09, 2016, 5:02 am
5 comments; last on Feb 10, 2016

Stop the Rental Fires Now!

Inspections of rentals cannot begin too soon. Seven fires in rental units since 2011 and almost half with ONE landlord. No but the clock may be running out.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Feb 08, 2016, 6:26 am

Super Bowl 50 - Wretched Excess

From all the monumentally boring hoopla to the shameful rousting of the homeless Super Bowl 50 exceeds all expectations for greed and excess.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Feb 05, 2016, 12:45 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 12, 2016


We Thank Our Sponsors

Click to See All Sponsors

About NWCitizen

Donations maintain site

Our writers
Thru the years

League of Women Voters

Calendar of Events

Home page

Local Online News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Cascadia Weekly
Coal Stop
Ferndale Record
KPLU fm radio
Latte Republic
Lynden Tribune
Noisy Waters
Northern Light
Seattle Times
Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut C. Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Community Wise Bham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Powder River Basin R. C.
RE Sources
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice

Our Governments

- Whatcom County

Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
US House
US Senate
US Supreme Court
US The White House
WA State
Whatcom COG

NWCitizen 1995-2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
EPIC World Photos
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?

Local Leisure

Adventures NW

Bellingham Wins
Entertainment NNW
Recreation Northwest

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The
Change The Mascot
Common Dreams
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Drudge Report
Edge of Sports
Foreign Policy in Focus
Gulf News
Huffington Post
Innocence Project
Irish Times
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Sea Shepherd
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
War and Piece
Washington Votes

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Register

Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Jack Petree
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Protect Bellingham Parks
Sweeney Politics
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders