On June 16, Bellingham resident Ellen Murphy paid a visit to Congressman Rick Larsen’s office and spoke to his Community Liason, Thomas Boucher. Among other things, she spoke about Congressman Larsen’s 2012 press release “Larsen Applauds SSA Marine for Moving Forward with Project to Create Jobs, Help Economy” and offered him a new press release to send out, entitled: “Larsen Applauds Lummi Nation’s Courageous Stand in Defense of their Treaty Rights to Fish in their Ancient Sustainable Way, and in their Usual and Accustomed Grounds, and their Right to Dip their Nets in their Treaty Fisheries and not Come up Empty, in Accordance with Judge Ricardo Martinez’ 2013 Decision on Removing Culvert Barriers for Fish Passage,” a birthday present from Ellen to Rick.
Here is the full text of this part of Ellen’s presentation to Thomas Boucher:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RICK From Ellen Murphy
I understand that Representative Larsen’s birthday was yesterday, June 15, so Happy Birthday, Rick, just a day late. Because your media statement in favor of the GPT project, released in February 2011, was reprinted under the title “Larsen Applauds SSA Marine for Moving Forward with Project to Create Jobs, Help Economy,” in the SSA Marine/GPT document delivered to the office of Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws on November 22, 2012, and is now in the official record for GPT to be reviewed by our county council as it decides on the fate of the GPT permit/s, you do have an influence over decisions on the terminal, though no direct involvement in them.
It is my dream that today’s presentation will open your heart to the pain and longings of thousands of your constituents who support the Treaty Rights and Human Rights of the Lummi Nation, and the rights of Nature, as spelled out in the “United Nations Earth Charter,” “The Lummi Vision for Xwe’chi’eXen,” and many scientific American and International documents on the fossil fueled climate crisis. So for your birthday present, I have written you a new press release. I know you have a great sense of humor, but this is actually a gift given not in humor, but in all honesty, respect, sincerity and hope. I have re-titled it:
Larsen Applauds Lummi Nation’s Courageous Stand in Defense of their Treaty Rights to Fish in their Ancient Sustainable Way, and in their Usual and Accustomed Grounds, and their Right to Dip their Nets in their Treaty Fisheries and not Come up Empty, in Accordance with Judge Ricardo Martinez’ 2013 Decision on Removing Culvert Barriers for Fish Passage
Your “New Press Release”: Industrial exports may potentially boost the economy and provide jobs, but each project benefit must be carefully weighed against potential damage to the natural environment, effects on human health and safety, and any treaty rights with sovereign tribal nations, or threats to their heritage and archeological sites.
A project of the magnitude of the Gateway Pacific Terminal, that would export over 48 million tons of coal per year, using over 400 ships each a thousand feet long, that take upto 6 miles to stop, with 974 transits per year, and which has been staunchly opposed by the Lummi Nation and by thousands of other citizens citing health and safety concerns, and which has potential for destruction to fragile atmospheric and eco-systems of the Salish Sea, must be weighed against any jobs it would create.
In my original statement, I was optimistic about the GPT project, but today, after several years of gathering information and listening to constituents, I believe the Cherry Point environment and its ancient cultural sites and Lummi Treaty Rights, the supreme law of the land under Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States of America, which I took an oath to defend, cannot sustain a massive coal shipping terminal. I now understand that, as the Lummi people have repeated again and again, their Treaty is not negotiable. In conclusion, only an open mind can proudly be changed. And I now change mine.