“Friends and Neighbors”?Permalink +
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 12:59 pm // Terry Wechsler
In their November 29, 2012, comment on the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT), the Northern Whatcom County Small City Caucus (mayors of Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack, and Sumas) explained why they support GPT:
“The existing Cherry Point industries have been increasingly good neighbors and corporate citizens over time, but their future viability cannot be assumed or taken for granted. The permitting agencies should recognize the importance of new and diversified job growth within the Cherry Point heavy industrial area as essential to a healthy and sustainable regional economy.”
My first article for NWC noted there has never been an environmental assessment to determine how “appropriate” industrial activity at Cherry Point actually is. As we await the EIS for GPT, it is time to assess our Whatcom County industrial “good neighbors and corporate citizens” with a more critical eye, and consider how they operate and have in the past, since that informs how we can expect them and their corporate brethren in Whatcom County to behave in the future.
This information is incomplete. Data about toxic sites awaiting cleanup is derived from the Washington Dep’t of Ecology’s Hazardous Sites List. Ecology ranks sites 1 to 5, with those with a 1 ranking being the worst sites. For perspective, the GP waterfront site has a rank of 2.
Alcoa Intalco Works:
- Largest stationary source of carbon monoxide in the area, emitting as much CO as all cars in the county, according to the NW Clean Air Agency. Also significant emitter of SO2, NO2, PM10, and PM2.5. (Note: technology could reduce.)
- Largest single electricity consumer in the Northwest.
- Leading regional source of workplace asbestos exposure according to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
- Two toxic sites in the county (Rank 4 in Acme; rank 5 in Bellingham) awaiting cleanup.
- As of February 2014, 17 total hazardous sites state-wide, of which 3 are ranked 1 (in Auburn, Shelton, and Kelso).
BP Cherry Point:
- 1995-2005, BP US led nation in refinery deaths, with 10 times Exxon’s.
- 2010: BP Cherry Point cited for 13 “serious safety violations,” fined $69,200. No appeal.
- 2012: Refinery fire; six violations cited by WA Dep’t Labor & Industries (L&I), including one willful violation of workplace safety and health rules, $81,500 fine. BP is appealing.
- Whatcom County PDS No. SEP2012-00059; mitigated determination of nonsignificance (MDNS) dated October 18, 2012, and permit granted for a rail logistics project to receive up to one train per day of crude from the North Dakota Bakken shale beds. Request for reconsideration based on new information of extreme hazards associated with crude by rail denied. Currently does not report how many trains it actually receives.
Chevron LPG, Ferndale:
- Petrogas Energy Corp. of Calgary announced acquisition of the facility, which stores and distributes bulk shipments of propane, butane and iso-butane (collectively "LPG"), on March 4, 2014. The facility almost exclusively exports to foreign markets, according to industry analyst RBN Energy.
- Petrogas has not announced if it plans to expand storage capacity (currently 750 MBbl) or rail infrastructure (2 rail sidings), and officials decline to be interviewed. The facility previously averaged 4-5000 bpd (2-3 vessels/annum), but the announcement noted the facility’s 30,000 bpd capacity.
- Transport is dangerous. The most recent FRA advisory about rail transport was issued in 2012; tankers require 500-foot “security zones,” or buffers between them and other vessels. The facility shares Alcoa’s pier.
- Derailments can result in explosions and fires, posing particular problems when LPG cars are combined with crude for rail shipment as occurs now.
Phillips 66 (ConocoPhillips) Ferndale Refinery:
- Persists in using hydrofluoric acid, an acute poison, to boost octane rates in spite of the extreme danger associated with a spill and availability of safer alternative chemicals. Refuses to disclose how this hazardous material is transported to the refinery (vessel, rail, or truck), in spite of the fact that “it’s some of the worst stuff in the spill-response world,” according to Mark MacIntyre, spokesman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle.
- 2005-11, fined over $200,000 for emission violations by Northwest Clean Air Administration.
- Fined $6,300 by L&I for 2010 fire caused by improper maintenance.
- Whatcom County PDS No. SEP2013-00005; MDNS dated April 29, 2013, and permit granted for a rail logistics project to receive up to one train every other day of crude from the North Dakota Bakken shale beds. Request for reconsideration based on new information of extreme hazards associated with crude by rail denied. Rail infrastructure not yet complete; has not agreed to report how many trains will be received once in operation.
TreOil Industries Limited:
- Ranked equivalent to GP waterfront on WA Dep’t of Ecology’s list of hazardous sites in Whatcom County awaiting cleanup.
- Contaminants are leaching into groundwater and later discharged into Puget Sound according to WA Dep’t of Natural Resources’ Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Plan.
Other: Ecology lists 27 hazardous sites awaiting cleanup in Whatcom County:
- Rank 1: Chris V8 in Custer;
- Rank 2: 5 sites including GP Bellingham waterfront;
- Rank 3: 9 sites;
- Rank 4: 3 sites; and
- Rank 5: 9 sites.
The Small City Mayors’ assertion that growth and diversification within the Cherry Point industrial area are essential to a healthy and sustainable economy is conclusory and requires adequate study of risks posed. Some of those risks were described by the Seattle Times in its front page Easter 2014 article addressing state-wide implications of combined rail and vessel impacts of the now over 20 fossil fuel transportation proposals in the region.
At the county level, it is time to address the cumulative impacts of industrial activity at Cherry Point and elsewhere, and we have 27 reasons to demand such an analysis before any permitting decisions are made that would add to or increase industrial activity. With rumors swirling of possible fracking operations in the Bellingham Basin, it is time to stop doing the easy thing – talking about jobs – and address how we sustainably move into a future that leaves our kids not merely with jobs to go to, but water to drink, fish to eat….
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 12:59 pm // Terry WechslerA closer look at Whatcom County's industrial "stewards of the environment."
2 comments; last on Apr 22, 2014
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 10:43 am // Wendy HarrisThe public needs to support city council and request that a waterfront habitat assessment include terrestrial species and habitat connectivity.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 1:57 pm // Terry Wechsleror How Not to Plan for Future Generations' Water Needs
10 comments; last on Apr 21, 2014
Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 11:52 am // Terry WechslerWhy commenting on the EIS in Comp Plan revisions for Cherry Point means demanding an EIS in the first place.
4 comments; last on Apr 13, 2014
Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 9:32 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue
3 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014
Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 9:47 am // John ServaisFukushima radiation has been found 20 miles from Whatcom County farmland along the Fraser River in British Columbia.
1 comments; last on Mar 17, 2014
Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 9:51 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs into an unusual hiring decision at the County Planning Dept
1 comments; last on Mar 10, 2014
Fri, Dec 06, 2013, 11:03 pm // Wendy HarrisThe county will be required to consider water quality and water quantity when planning rural growth.
3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2013
Tue, Oct 08, 2013, 2:22 pm // Wendy HarrisThe city staff considers the overwater walkway a done deal before official approval or resolution of treaty right conflicts
4 comments; last on Oct 16, 2013
Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 10:28 am // John ServaisBellingham City Council ready to approve $500,000 of trails money for resurfacing plastic grass on Civic Field.
15 comments; last on Jul 02, 2013
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 6:29 am // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney examines Sen. Ericksen's legislative methods
Fri, May 24, 2013, 12:18 am // Guest writerMarian Beddill provides a general guide for the public, with a look at the history of water rights in Washington state.
4 comments; last on May 26, 2013
Sun, May 05, 2013, 2:45 pm // John ServaisHelp fund a scientific study looking for links between diesel locomotives, coal trains and unhealthy air.
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 6:37 am // Guest writerGuest writer Shane Roth writes in favor of the reconveyance of Lake Whatcom land back to the county.
1 comments; last on Mar 11, 2013
Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 2:47 pm // John ServaisThe election created a new park district with taxing power - but with NO control over Chuckanut Ridge - the 100 acre woods.
1 comments; last on Feb 23, 2013
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 9:40 pm // Wendy HarrisAn "Updated Preferred Alternative" reduces the number of waterfront jobs and expands the boundary of the waterfront district.
Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 3:42 pm // John ServaisThe Park District vote is close and we will not know final results until late ballots are counted.
6 comments; last on Feb 19, 2013
Sat, Feb 09, 2013, 12:14 am // John ServaisThe proponents have avoided the issues on the Park District as the close of voting nears this weekend.
2 comments; last on Feb 12, 2013
Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 12:36 pm // Guest writerPaul Leuthold and Byron Elmendorf explain why to vote NO on the Chuckanut Park District ballot measure.
19 comments; last on Feb 12, 2013
Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 5:25 pm // Guest writerBill Geyer explains Transfer Development Rights and how they can be applied to the Chuckanut Ridge.
17 comments; last on Feb 05, 2013
Mon, Jan 28, 2013, 1:52 am // Wendy HarrisImproving ecosystem functions holistically is the best form of protection for the Lake Whatcom.
1 comments; last on Jan 28, 2013
Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 6:19 pm // Wendy HarrisLinks to a few noteworthy GPT scoping comments .
1 comments; last on Jan 22, 2013
Fri, Jan 11, 2013, 1:35 pm // Wendy HarrisA proposed amendment to the Lake Whatcom watershed moratorium will increase water quality degradation
1 comments; last on Jan 12, 2013
Sun, Jan 06, 2013, 11:49 pm // Wendy HarrisWatch the Whatcom County Council wiggle its way out of the latest round of GMA compliance requirements for Lake Whatcom
1 comments; last on Jul 27, 2013
Fri, Jan 04, 2013, 11:37 pm // Wendy HarrisCouncil majority willing to spend, and spend, and spend public funds defending development rights
2 comments; last on Jan 05, 2013
Mon, Dec 03, 2012, 3:26 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein citizens must hold their representatives' feet to the fire
6 comments; last on Dec 09, 2012
Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 8:53 am // John ServaisBellingham Business Journal breaking story - Lummi's to hold meeting today at noon to speak against the Cherry Point project.
7 comments; last on Nov 04, 2012
Wed, Sep 05, 2012, 11:00 am // Riley SweeneyRiley patiently explains to the Whatcom Excavator what a flowchart should look like
Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 8:00 am // Riley SweeneyRiley sits down with Matt Petryni with Power Past Coal to get the latest scoop
Thu, Aug 16, 2012, 11:50 pm // Wendy HarrisThe Mayor's Negotiations With Costco Undercuts City Permit Procedures And Public Process
4 comments; last on Aug 17, 2012
Sun, Jul 29, 2012, 11:17 am // John ServaisNew report suggests U.S. weather stations reporting higher temperatures because NOAA has poorly managed sensors and caused false higher readings.
11 comments; last on Aug 06, 2012
Tue, Apr 24, 2012, 12:02 am // Guest writerDevelopers are gaming the system with help from the county government - and big changes are made in multiple small changes.
1 comments; last on Apr 27, 2012
Fri, Apr 06, 2012, 7:16 am // Guest writerKen Mann writes a guest article of his personal support for the Padden Trails development inside the Bellingham city limits.
3 comments; last on Apr 07, 2012
Mon, Apr 02, 2012, 11:43 am // Larry HorowitzWhere to begin? Misinformation. Disinformation. Truths. Myths. Same old, same old. Paradigm shift. GMA. OFM. Growth pressures. Population loss. Growth subsidies. Proportionate share.
36 comments; last on Apr 11, 2012
Fri, Mar 09, 2012, 11:15 am // Riley SweeneyRiley gets to the bottom of this in a NWCitizen Exclusive
4 comments; last on Apr 01, 2012
Sat, Feb 18, 2012, 3:03 pm // Guest writerNo EIS - no real county planning concern about developing Squalicum Mountain and degrading Lake Whatcom water even further.
Wed, Dec 14, 2011, 8:05 am // Wendy HarrisClaiming it is unfair to treat large property owners different than small property owners, the Commission refuses to remove industrial areas from buffer mitigation proposal.
Wed, Dec 07, 2011, 8:00 am // Wendy HarrisTell the Planning Commission to eliminate this loophole
2 comments; last on Dec 14, 2011
Sun, Dec 04, 2011, 5:53 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the sooty prospect of economic necessity rears its ugly head
2 comments; last on Dec 05, 2011
Mon, Oct 31, 2011, 3:07 pm // Guest writerBob Ferris of Re-Sources takes a values based perspective on our community and a possible coal port.
9 comments; last on Nov 02, 2011
Fri, Jul 29, 2011, 10:11 am // John ServaisThe Gateway Pacific coal port appears to be under construction now - secretly and w/o permits.
36 comments; last on Aug 05, 2011
Fri, Jul 22, 2011, 3:52 pm // John ServaisWashington Federal has bought out Greenbriar's interest in Chuckanut Ridge.
3 comments; last on Jul 25, 2011
Mon, Jul 18, 2011, 9:03 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Political Junkie interviews Christina Maginnis
4 comments; last on Jul 22, 2011
Thu, Jun 23, 2011, 7:30 am // Wendy HarrisTime is running out for public comment on the Port's proposal to use toxic waste as a cap at waterfront re-development site.
5 comments; last on Jul 02, 2011
Wed, Jun 08, 2011, 1:09 pm // John ServaisWho all is on the take? Who all has not been up front about being on the take for the Coal Port?
4 comments; last on Jun 12, 2011
Fri, Jun 03, 2011, 11:56 am // John ServaisA running update of links and info on the Coal Port and Trains of proposed Gateway Pacific at Cherry Point.
15 comments; last on Jun 29, 2011
Thu, Jun 02, 2011, 6:45 pm // John ServaisThe public meeting to hear opinions about the coal port last night saw local union leader Dave Warren playing games.
3 comments; last on Jun 05, 2011
Wed, Jun 01, 2011, 4:32 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Mark Flanders' call to action for June 1 flash mob at coal port meeting
7 comments; last on Jun 09, 2011
Wed, May 18, 2011, 9:31 am // Riley SweeneyPatti Brooks' war on gophers shows how she is a socialist
3 comments; last on May 28, 2011
Thu, Dec 23, 2010, 5:19 pm // John ServaisCrawford, Kremen & Co. have been stopped by Growth Management Board.
4 comments; last on Dec 27, 2010
Wed, Dec 15, 2010, 9:07 pm // Guest writerWendy Harris writes about a multi million dollar planned city of Bellingham project.
9 comments; last on Dec 18, 2010
Sat, Nov 20, 2010, 3:13 pm // Guest writerDave Stalheim warns us the Council is poised to rob the Conservation Futures Fund.
2 comments; last on Nov 25, 2010
Tue, Nov 09, 2010, 5:04 pm // Guest writerEric explains his resignation from the Greenways Advisory Committee and lists his concerns.
1 comments; last on Nov 10, 2010
Open letter to Bellingham Planning Director Jeff Thomas re: Fairhaven Highlands application deadline
Sun, Oct 31, 2010, 6:20 pm // Larry HorowitzUpdated Sun, Oct 31. An open letter to Bellingham Planning Director Jeff Thomas re: Fairhaven Highlands application deadline
12 comments; last on Oct 28, 2010
Tue, Sep 07, 2010, 9:59 am // Guest writerEric Hirst reviews a new book by Andres R. Edwards, Thriving Beyond Sustainability: Pathworks to a Resillient Society
Mon, Aug 16, 2010, 1:55 pm // John LesowJohn Lesow rebuts Jack Petree's Herald oped article that strongly criticized county planning.
30 comments; last on Aug 25, 2010
Fri, Aug 13, 2010, 9:39 am // John ServaisAm looking for a writer to rebut Jack Petree's BIAW propaganda article the Herald saw fit to print.
3 comments; last on Aug 20, 2010
Wed, Aug 04, 2010, 9:12 am // John ServaisBellingham Planning Department is giving quiet extensions to the Chuckanut Ridge developer - propping up the property value.
1 comments; last on Aug 04, 2010
Fri, Jul 16, 2010, 5:44 am // Guest writerEric Hirst reviews this October 2009 book by Stewart Brand of Whole Earth Catalog fame. Stewart is critical of several mainstream environmental stances.
1 comments; last on Jul 19, 2010
Wed, Jul 14, 2010, 12:52 pm // John ServaisThe Atlantic Monthly has an article on Climate gate that every Enviro true believer should read. Some healthy skepticism is very needed.
1 comments; last on Jul 17, 2010
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