Monday, February 14, 2011

Coal Trains Could Alter Quality of Life In the Chuckanut Range

All photos Copyright Paul K Anderson 2011
Air quality in Bellingham recently has been rated as the best of any city its size in the United States. But an effort by the Wall Street firm of Goldman Sachs could alter that and dramatically affect our quality of life here in the 4th corner.

Our friends over at the North Sound Baykeeper Team sent out this update.

Please click on this link and those inside the Baykeeper link.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks that would carry additional millions of metric tons of coal and pass directly through the cities of Mt. Vernon, Blanchard, along the complete length of the Chuckanut Range and above the oyster beds of Samish Bay, through Bellingham including the neighborhoods of Chuckanut Bay, Edgemore, South Hill, downtown, the waterfront, below the Lettered Streets and over to Cherry Point. The trains will be unloaded, then reloaded onto ships bound for coal fired power plants in China.

Coal dust will be bad. What effects will that have on our residents in the north county, on families, retirees and seniors living near Birch Bay and Semi-ah-moo, Blaine and Lynden?

Why as citizens of Whatcom County are we enabling the Chinese to continue to build and to pollute the atmosphere with their coal burning power plants?

They are taking jobs away from Americans and these will not be replaced by the inflated numbers mentioned by slick public relations handouts or printed so glowingly in the Bellingham Herald.

Dirty jobs.  Dirty industry. Why here in this beautiful location of the country? We do not want to become known as the Houston or Galveston of the Northwest.  Tourists do not flock there for the beauty of the land.

We spend millions as taxpayers investing in Salmon recovery.  This could have an effect on the herring spawning grounds near Cherry Point.

This is not for the defense of our country, it is not to prevent power shortages at home. It is to create profit to be removed from here, for a Wall Street firm and for Warren Buffett.

We are better off spending our money on attracting clean, high tech industry.

And the promoters have the audacity to tell us that we as taxpayers will have to help subsidize improvements for the benefit of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the shipping terminal.

How soon will companies who settled in Bellingham and Whatcom County (specifically for this quality of life) announce that they are looking elsewhere and taking hundreds of jobs with them?

Will the BNSF and the shipping terminal company subsidize the citizens of Whatcom County for declines in salmon, the decline of water and air quality, loss of jobs from companies leaving the area, lowering of property values, for the increased health problems?

No - of course no;  after being handed subsidies, they will ask the taxpayers to lower their taxes and fees in the future.

It is not in our best interest to sell off our future for quick profits for companies that have no relationship with this area, so the Chinese can create more jobs at the expense of the American middle class.

Thanks to Matt Krogh and our friends over at the North Sound Baykeepers for this information.

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