Wow. I just looked at the County Council meeting for Tuesday, the day of the big comp. plan public hearing. They are also discussing various chapters of the comp. plan in different committee meetings all day long. Often, your best chance to make a statement is at the committee meetings, where the right to speak is optional and informal and depends on time available. But this is at an earlier stage of the process before decisions for the evening meeting have been made.
Here is what is on.
At 9:30, the Natural Resources Committee will be reviewing Chapter 8, on natural resources, to focus on AG issues. This would be a good one to show up for. The AG community, despite being the largest pollutor in the county, is seeking relief fron existing regulations. This last year, it hired a well paid lobbyist and was successful in getting DOE to drop its orginal proposed standards for Concentratred Animal Feeding Operations (think dairies). We have the worst well water nitrate contamination in the state, that is a result of over applicaton of manure. We need to put pressure on the farmers to increase buffers and accountability for ecosystem impacts.
1 PM: Public works is reviewing the chapter on capital facilities.
2:30 PM. Parks is looking at the final draft of the 2016 Comprehensive Parks, Recreations, and Open Space Plan and process. This really needs some sunshine because Director McFarlene is operating his department wiithout any attempt to protect wildlife and habitat, although it is a requirement in the park plan and will have significant impacts on the comp. plan chapter for recreation. The outdoor recreation lobby has exercised growing power in the last few years without any responsibility for its impacts on wildlife and habitat. This is a chance to try to nip things in the bud.
3 PM Special Committee of the Whole will review Chapter Two, the land use chapter.
Also of interest at 6PM in closed executive session, discussion with Senior Deputy Prosecutor Karen Frakes regarding potential litigation, GPT permit process. I find that rather interesteing since we are not at a stage where anything is happening other than waiting for the final EIS. So why the discussion of litigation. Also of note, they will be discussing an appeal of the Hearing Examiner’s decision on APL2015-0005 filed by Jack Swanson for Dale and Dawn Marr, Marr’s Black Plush Ranch, Inc. In case you do not know this is a notorious mink farm, famous for its illegal discharges into streams and its cruel and inhumane treatment of the minks.
We need YOU to show up for the public to have a voice, so do not forget the public hearing on the comp. plan that evening at 7 PM.
Link to the January 26 Agenda for Whatcom County Council and Committees: http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/1569/Current-Agenda