The public continues to be letdown by some of our local media in reporting on the Gateway Pacific Terminal / Facebook post, Sj Robson

lummi regect northern light5 hrs September 7, 2015  Sandy Robson

I read a September 2 article in the Northern Light which reported on the latest news about the Lummi Nation’s Lummi Indian Business Council’s August 27 letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, and the news that the Lummi Nation retained Dentons law firm for potential future litigation on the GPT issue.

I thought the article was sorely lacking in various ways and listed those below. In each case (numbered below), I started with quoted material from the article.

1) “In January, the tribe issued a formal letter to the USACE to block the permit for the GPT, claiming the coal terminal would impede on federally protected tribal fishing grounds.”

When the reporter writes “federally protected” it would be more precise and more appropriate to use the phrase “treaty-protected.” Treaties are the supreme law of the land. The word “treaty” is extremely significant.

2) “Tim Ballew III”
It should be Tim Ballew II.

3) “The USACE has attempted to negotiate the issues between the Lummi and SSA in lieu of the investigation, but the parties have not been able to reach common ground.”

I’m not sure what is really meant by the entire sentence above. What does the reporter mean by the phrase “in lieu of the investigation”? It is not clear to the readers.

4) “The Lummi Nation and SSA Marine have each presented cases to the Corps over the last several months. In July, SSA Marine submitted a 365-page argument to the USACE, claiming the Lummi rarely utilize the waters the coal terminal would use, and that the Lummi’s most frequently used commercial fishing grounds were elsewhere. SSA argued the statements taken by fishermen about their usual fishing grounds were too vague and would not stand up in court.”

In their August 27 letter to the Corps which in entirety was 246 pages, the Lummi Nation specifically addressed the claim/s above made by SSA Marine, yet no information from that rebuttal was included in the article.

5) “The Lummi argue that the waters around Cherry Point, where the massive new coal terminal would be built, are protected as ‘Usual and Accustomed’ fishing grounds under a treaty signed in 1855. The treaty was reaffirmed in a 2000 court ruling.”

First, I think that it is important to let readers know what treaty is being referred to when the reporter writes “a treaty signed in 1855.” Second, what specific court ruling in 2000 reaffirmed that treaty (Treaty of Point Elliott)?

6) “USACE spokesperson Deborah Graesser…”
Her name is Patricia Graesser.

7) The headline says: “Lummi reject negotiations, demand quick response on coal terminal”

In the LIBC’s August 27 letter, there was no mention of “negotiations.” I’m not sure why the reporter used the phrase “reject negotiations.”

The letter stated: “However, we are not interested in lengthy dialogue with the project proponent and do not anticipate the necessity of responding further. It is our understanding that the Corps has deemed our request for a permit denial and supporting affidavits sufficient for purposes of making a de minimis determination.”

Read Sandy’s post on her Facebook page here.

Read “Lummi reject negotiations, demand quick response on coal terminal” on The Northern Light here.

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