Running blog on Coal Port

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Fri, Jun 03, 2011, 11:56 am  //  John Servais

Fri, June 3, 2011

Senator Patty Murray filed a new bill in May to help get Gateway Pacific up to $500 million in U.S. federal grants or loans.  Patty?  Our liberal, Democratic, environmental Senator?  Is she just asking all us environmentalists in Whatcom County to abandon her?  Does she really want to spend our tax dollars to destroy the quality of life here in Whatcom County?  Is she totally out of touch?  

Check out Senate Bill 942 - introduced by Patty just four weeks ago on May 10.  I didn't see anything about it in our local daily newspaper.  Probably no press release from her office.  She is not nuts.  But there it is - a bill to dole out billions to the large corporations wanting to ship coal to China.  All carefully phrased in double speak.  

The fix has been in on this project since it ramped up in February.  Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, Governor Gregoire, and our Representative Rick Larsen are all behind it.  They are all in on the fix and were no doubt brought in over the past couple years.  What's in it for them?  Probably campaign contributions and promises of no aid for their opponents.  Stuff like that - stuff we will never know.  They don't go out on a limb for a project like this for nothing.  Hell, if Gateway Pacific gets a $200 million grant, or if Burlington Northern/Santa Fe gets $300 million for new double tracks to Bellingham, then why not toss a few thousand to Patty?  And now - thanks to the Supreme Court - it can be done secretly and directly.  We will never know anything.  This is how to destroy democracy - and Patty is part of it.  

If Patty does not like what I've said above, then let her speak out - and withdraw her bill to give even more money to Goldman-Sachs.  Let her visit Whatcom County and tell the residents here she made a mistake and will not support this coal port.  Let her tell us she wants to protect the environment.  

I'll be adding more to this one post as time goes by.  

Todd Granger  //  Sat, Jun 04, 2011, 7:37 am

This is protecting the environment John.

“It should be our endeavor to cultivate peace and friendship of every nation…Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent of whatever they may choose to bring into our ports, and asking the same of theirs.”
Thomas Jefferson; “Notes on the State of Virginia”

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John Servais  //  Sat, Jun 04, 2011, 11:36 am

Todd - you must be a very nice person.  And very naive.  Yes, protecting the environment - by giving hundreds of millions to Goldman Sachs to build double tracks and rail yards to and at Cherry Point.  So nice you bring Thomas Jefferson into this - the man who despised industry and praised agriculture. 

Yes - let us cultivate friendship with everyone.  What would they like of ours?  Coal?  Sure - we will dirty ourselves, wreck our environment and trash our county so they can have cheap coal.  That way they can save their extensive coal for the future.  Friendship.  What can you give your neighbor that he might like?  Why not cut down the trees on your property that block his views?  Maybe give him the wood below your costs.  Some friendship.  Try the word ‘sucker’.


Scott Wicklund  //  Sat, Jun 04, 2011, 9:03 pm

I believe Senator Murray’s spouse actually works for the Stevedore company proposing the Coal Port.  I think she preferred the older earmark system than the current one.  Senator Murray was one of the signers of a letter to President Obama requesting urgent action on the deficit and using the Catfood Comission recomendations to cut Social Security and Medicare.  Strange she would seek funding for Goldman Sachs and Warren Buffett if she believed the deficit required cutting Social Security and Medicare.


Paul deArmond  //  Sun, Jun 05, 2011, 8:39 am

A few corrections might be in order. 

The TIGER re-appropriation bill is a continuation of a national program started in 2009.  If there was no Gateway Pacific project, this bill would still have been created.  There is a press release and it provides some details of past projects from the previous 2009 legislation:

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There is nothing about the Gateway Pacific terminal in the bill.  It covers all federal transportation infrastructure, highways, ports, rail, everything in all 50 states.  It’s national and the grant and loan amounts could be anywhere between $1 million and $500 million.  Gateway might benefit from this funding, but it will be fighting for it’s place at the trough along with every other project in the country.

Rob Murray, Patty’s husband works as a computer consultant for SSA and it has been reported since 2004 when Rick Anderson did his usual job in the Seattle Weekly of trying to create controversy without much substance:

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I’ve heard some wild estimates of the amount of train traffic.  So a little poking around found this railfan site:

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They are talking 24 million tonnes per year.  A big coal train will be about 15,000 tonnes.  That’s 1,600 trains per year delivering coal and then turning around empty.  Spread over a year that’s about eight to ten additional trains coming and going, empty and full.  I think we have about six trains a day now, so we’re looking at maybe 16 trains a day, north and south as a result of the Peabody/China contract.

Back when Hershey bars were a nickel, there was a lot of train traffic through Bellingham.  I wonder if some of the local railfans could dig up information on what the peak traffic through Bellingham was in the past.  They tend to be good at that sort of thing.


Hue Beattie  //  Sun, Jun 05, 2011, 9:45 pm

thank you Paul for correcting the info on the
transportation bill.


Rob Stratton  //  Mon, Jun 06, 2011, 9:44 am

Thomas Jefferson may have liked agricultural industry over “factory” industry but was wise enough to say this….

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.”

Thomas Jefferson


Todd Granger  //  Tue, Jun 07, 2011, 9:51 am

Jefferson dispised industry John?

Discussing the public business to our NorthwestCitizens?

“Commerce is the great engine by which we are to coerce them and not war.”
To Meriweather Lewis 1808, looking for the Northwest passage?

“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
1st Inaugural 1801

“We must place the manufacturer by the side of the agriculturalist…Experiance has taught me that manufactures
are now as necessary to our independance as to our comfortTo Austin 1816

Ag, manufactures, commerce, and navagation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to Individual enterprise.”
First Annual Message to Congress, 1801

And Jefferson wanted to cut down a few trees too.
Edu. for Teddy Roosevelt.
“Were they to make an opening thro’ the isthmus of Panama, a work much less difficult than some even of the inferior canals of France, however small this opening should be in the beginning…” 1786

“When a new invention is supported by well known principals, & promises to be useful, it out to be tried.”
Thomas Jefferson to Robert Fulton, working on a steam engine, 1810.

Naive John?

That’s 3 recent generations that put this Nation here today. Goldman Sacks, gave you me and everyone everthing we wanted.

Jeffersons Virgina was an ag state, and George Washington, headed to Massachuettes to get a few manufactured products.
to assist in Free Commerce, not the old english model of control shown best right here in the 4th Corner.

Jefferson, July 4th 1776
“For cutting off our trade with all partsa of the World.”


Todd Granger  //  Tue, Jun 07, 2011, 11:46 am

The American Manufacturing Clause, Jefferson, 1776 to Washington 1777;
“for cutting off our trade with all parts of the World.”

+ Link


David Camp  //  Sat, Jun 25, 2011, 10:44 am

If this project is such a good idea, why does our Senator need to sponsor a corporate welfare bill to provide government funding?

Hasn’t Goldman Sachs already stolen enough of the public treasure? Whose interests is Patty Murray serving by gifting public funds to wealthy corporate interests? Funds which incidentally must be borrowed from the future earnings of our children, long after Senator Murray has retired on her self-voted platinum pension on our nickel.


Hue Beattie  //  Sat, Jun 25, 2011, 6:06 pm

Mr.Camp please read Paul D’Armond’s comment.


Scott Wicklund  //  Sat, Jun 25, 2011, 8:42 pm

I disagree with Paul’s implication there is nothing to see with the Murray’s (Robert and Patty) and SSA.  Look at the pension Robert has accrued during Patty’s tenure in the Senate consulting on SSA’s ‘puters.  Nice work if you can get it and it’s sole source for both SSA and Robert Murray.  I respect Paul’s ability to research stuff.  He could do us a favor by putting a chronology of SSA’s phenomenal growth in Federal contracts Homeland Security work and Hemingway’s contributions to Senator Murray and husband Robert’s pension.  I fiind it curious that an extreme ideological right winger like Hemingway contributes so much to “liberal” Patty Murray.  Just a coincidence that everyone involved ” got lucky?”


Scott Wicklund  //  Sun, Jun 26, 2011, 7:49 am

There is a curious exclusion of dredging in Senator Murray’s
bill!  That should pique the curiosity of NW folks who know
that many projects that could apply for the funding need
dredging (POB included).  SSA will not need any dredging so
it would certainly give them a unique advantage in the free
competition to all for the funding.  Ask Senator Murray why
she excluded dredging!


Hue Beattie  //  Mon, Jun 27, 2011, 11:24 pm

Scott ,Rob has worked for SSA for a long time.nothing new there.
the bill, S942, on page 10 2A under the heading” Primary Selection
ion Criteria” states on line 19iv.
A project has to improve the
the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emmissions.
So I doubt that the coal port qualifies.


Michael McAuley  //  Wed, Jun 29, 2011, 5:52 pm

Scott W.  PoB won’t be looking for much in the way of dredge dollars other than for maintenance at the shipping terminal, the bay is way too shallow so that Horizon Lines ship you’ve seen for the last decade is about as big as we could get anyway.


Michael McAuley  //  Wed, Jun 29, 2011, 5:53 pm

That’s exclusive of cleanup or remediation, of course. :-)


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