Saturday, July 7, 2012

Coal: A Few More Lumps

While I would prefer to write about some other topics, this Coal Train Issue remains more important.
With the EIS scoping to begin shortly, it is critical to maintain focus in a way that may actually benefit us in that process.
So, here goes another attempt at collecting information and potentially useful dialogue about the Coal proposal that has our undivided attention.

By now, I expect most people who want to, know about the derailment of a coal train bound for BC thru Bellingham derailed near Tri Cities. 31 hopper cars left the tracks and only one was usable afterwards, but the train went on after a short delay with its other 90+ loaded cars, leaving the mess to be quickly cleaned up and hauled away to the scrap yard. Good thing this derailment didn't happen along a R-O-W within a heavily populated area, where real damage -to people, property & environment- could be done, isn't it? But, since these things happen fairly often, it may be just a matter of time before its our turn in that sorry barrel.

Then, there's this article which describes how folks in the Vancouver, WA area are feeling about the prospect of tripling the coal train traffic along the Columbia River and  through their fair city.
Hint, it ain't positive.

But, locally, its hard to get off the subject of the proposed Initiative, Proposition 2012-2, for which the City of Bellingham is legally challenging its, well, legality. The City Council wants to do something, but maybe not something that is more likely to fail than succeed. Nothing wrong with that is there?
One brave soul, Council member Michael Lilliquist, has written down his thinking, attempting to actually explain it, a novel approach that may satisfy him but maybe not every wild-eyed supporter, as is demonstrated in the comments registered to his rather long epistle to the world in the Bellingham Herald.

Perusing the comments to the above epistle did reveal a few really good websites on this subject, including this one used by Whatcom Docs and this one sponsored by a group focused on the EIS required for the GPT Project which is to be started very soon. So much data, so little time!

Among all this seriousness is, well, more seriousness, but maybe with a touch of levity in yesterday's post on the Get Whatcom Planning blog. Jean Melious' description of 2 Fuller Brush-type salesmen reminded me of earlier days when door-to-door sales people were more common -and useful.

That the GPT backers are deep-pocketed is no surprise, but what is surprising is that they are willing to spend their cash -and credibility- this way. Are you kidding me?
Trying to pass off a crassly poor concept of a selfish moneymaking scheme as something that will benefit the public? Really?
Clever green and blue signs that proclaim 'GOOD JOBS NOW'? Get serious!
That makes Karl Rove look like an amateur.

But, you know what, they ARE serious! And it doesn't matter much to them what citizens think, either.
Too bad they are giving the Fuller Brush salesmen of the past a tarnished reputation, because those guys were selling good products. Heck, I've still got some of them, including a hand mirror my mother bought so many years ago that it must be an antique.
At least a legacy like that remains useful, unlike anything that the GPT proposal will ever leave behind.