June 2, 2020 public hearing on moratorium regarding Cherry Point unrefined fossil fuel export projects / Letter to the Whatcom County Council

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Click the graphic to access the above Public Hearing Notice and any others for the week of June 2 on the Whatcom County website

May 27, 2020  Dena Jensen

Don’t forget that next week there is a virtual public hearing on the interim moratorium regarding Cherry Point. I just found out we are urged to register in advance if we want to attend and/or speak at the hearing. This is the link to the page that has information about that: http://www.whatcomcounty.us/3415/Virtual-Council-Public-Hearings

Meanwhile, here is the email I sent to the Council tonight:
Subject: Support for the moratorium on permits for new unrefined fossil fuel export projects out of Cherry Point
Dear Whatcom County Council:
Thank you for voting to introduce, AB2020-217, “imposing an interim moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications and permits for new or expanded facilities in the Cherry Point urban growth area, the primary purpose of which would be the shipment of unrefined fossil fuels not to be processed at Cherry Point”, for a public hearing coming up on June 2.
It was disappointing to hear Council Members Byrd and Elenbaas at your May 19, 2020 meeting, insinuating some Council Members intend to keep this moratorium in place for decades, when clearly numerous Council Members were involved in speeding up the process to provide amendments of code and the Cherry Point Urban Growth Area Land Use Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan to the Whatcom County Planning Commission for review. Council has clearly and repeatedly stated their intent that the moratorium would only be in place until these amendments were developed and approved.
The whole process to develop and review the amendments has taken some time as you all know. And once the amendments were submitted to the Planning Commission I have heard numerous industry workers and representatives thank the planning commission for taking their time to review the them. Some of the Planning Commissioners had voiced their desire to do a thorough job, unpressured by a due date that had been hoped for by the County Council.
The Planning Commission’s last work session on the amendments was in February this year, after which their future meetings had been cancelled indefinitely due to COVID-19.
Council Member Elenbaas also asserted in Council’s May 19, meeting that nothing would happen if this moratorium is not approved. If this is true then I cannot envision why he would see the Council introducing the moratorium as being, as he said, “disgusting.” If industry does not ever plan to export unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point, then this moratorium should please both them and all of the rest of us who want to protect the safety and well being of workers, the historical lands and treaty protected fishing grounds of Lummi Nation, our community, our Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, and all the life within the Salish Sea.
I call on all of you to approve the moratorium on June 2.
Dena Jensen
Birch Bay, WA