July 30, 2016 Wendy Harris
Why are we being bullied by big business into separating out these and only these provisions [proposed by Council Member Carl Weimer] from the comp plan? Is it not clear that the Executive, the planning department and the Prosecutor’s Office are favoring the interests of Cherry Point industries, rather than those of its own residents?
We have heard one bullshit excuse after another, or rather, we have not heard anything because this is all occurring in executive session away from the public’s prying eyes. Instead, we are left gleaming from council member statements and public comments by industry the invalid arguments being raised, each one worse than the next.
The commerce clause? I want to see citation to legal authority that requires the state to build facilities to accommodate international trade. (Short cut: you will not find any,) Because Carl’s amendment specifically leaves in the provisions for rail to Cherry Point, which is how fossil fuel is generally delivered, there is only limited interference with interstate commerce.
There are reasonable restriction for all businesses at Cherry Point for water quality and biodiversity. The courts are very hesitant to set aside legitimate exercise of state police powers that serve a valid public purpose and are applied uniformly to in-state and out of state users and which do not pose an undue burden on commerce in relationship to local benefit. Translation: Under these facts, where a new aquatic reserve was created since the last comp. plan update, it is not a violation of the commerce clause to require reasonable restrictions on land use activities that apply to any business at Cherry Point.
Seriously, no one at Cherry Point saw this coming? Even after the Lummis, who hold treaty rights and strong public support, made a request at the planning commission to prohibit new projects that export raw fuel? This is just an attempt by BP and other existing industry to delay, delay, delay.
And since this is a legal question, it is not appropriate to send this over for review by the Planning Commission, where only 1 commissioner has a legal back ground, to flush out the legal implications. I have watched the PC struggle over far less complex issues that this one. All this is really doing is giving the planning staff carte blanche to make the changes the administration wants.
Adding to the strangeness is the the attempt to pass a resolution that splinters the Weimer amendments, and what appears to be the section on Cherry Point in its entirety. The resolution lacks any citation to legal authority or even an explanation of what is occurring and why. How can such a resolution be legally enforced?
The final proposed ordinance for the comp. plan is now listed on the county website and it continues to reflect a Cherry Point section. This matter was already sent forward to Department of Commerce without any reference to the strange way that Carl’s amendments are being removed and handled. I will be making an effort next week to contact them to make sure they are comfortable with the way things are being managed for Cherry Point, as I am surely not.