Ask Dan McShane. His article on the on-going Swift Creek landslide is interesting and relevant on several points.
First, it illustrates the utter stupidity of Doug Ericksen, and how harmful his policies have been, not just for progressives, but for farmers and other people whose livelihood depend on the land.
Dan notes that the Swift Creek sediment, containing natural asbestos and other components that are toxic to soil, are carried downstream by the Sumas River, and accumulate in channels, causing flooding. The flooding is a problem (not just because it is flooding) but because it spreads the sediment over larger areas. This sediment is harmful for people and for soil, essentially any living thing connected to the land.
Dredging left large piles of toxic sediment that was hauled away and used all over the county in construction projects. I am always surprised that almost no one I talk to is aware of this. This was not a good solution to the flooding, so the state prepared a sediment management plan and included it in the state budget. Problem solved, or so it seemed.
The budget item passed in the house with support by both 42nd house members Vince Buys and Luanne Van Werven. And then it got to Doug in the Senate. Doug got it removed from the budget, leaving Whatcom County farmers and local employers hanging, and leaving the county, and the public, with a huge and unnecessary expense of managing this problem themselves.
Here is the part that kills me. The people most being hurt by this, the farmers and conservative county folks, are Doug Ericksen’s biggest fans. Go figure. As for myself, any part of my tax bill attributable to Doug, I would like to be able to forward on to him for him for payment.
The part that I found most interesting, and I wished Dan had expounded upon, was his statement that “the towns of Nooksack and Sumas are at risk and their growth plans now face uncertainty. Property owners face substantial loss in value of their land.” He notes some farm land and a mill and mushroom farm that employ over 100 are at risk.
We are in the middle of a comp. plan update, which includes determining growth populations, employment projections and UGA boundaries. If there are unresolved problems involving natural hazards, whether or not they involve geologically hazardous critical areas, these are not appropriate places for urban growth. This is somewhat similar to the problems with exploding oils trains faced by the cities along the coastline, particularly Bellingham, with its rail lines that travel over unstable fill. Our first and foremost responsibility is to keep our citizens safe.
If Nooksack and Sumas are threatened by the mindless act of Doug Ericksen, we must first ensure that people are safe, even if growth must be restricted, and then second, we must make sure that all the credit goes to the source of the problem.. our own good senator.