Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coal: The Ant & The Elephant

Some may remember the dilemma faced by the ant when it discovered a dead elephant.
The good news; food for life!
The bad news; where to take the first bite?
I have shared some of that same dilemma when faced with the daunting task of how to get an enormous number of concerns to be actively considered as part of EIS scoping for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal [GPT].

In the greater scheme of things impacting our area and its many healthy attractions, the idea of exporting millions of tons of American coal to China through a deepwater port that hasn't even been permitted or built, ranks right up there near the top in my book.
That means the decisions that are made regarding this issue will bind us to a future we may come to seriously regret. 
That is why it is critical that we, the citizens, speak up and be heard! 

So, rather than trying to figure out a big comprehensive set of concerns before beginning to register specific comments, I've decided to just begin and proceed in bite-size chunks.
That way, the job just seems easier, plus progress can be readily measured and gaps filled in later.
With that direction set, the job becomes one of practicing the skill required to craft effective concerns and then distributing those ideas to not only the agencies involved, but with as many other citizens as possible to facilitate their active participation.
Here's an idea shared by someone else that can begin to help us develop templates that can be readily used by citizens who wish to express their own concerns:
I think diversity in samples is going to be a strength - different formats, styles, organizations, voice, etc. - yet all adhering to the same criteria (e.g. does not state an opinion, asks a question, is supported by reasonably foreseeable [result] and significance, etc.).... every sample [provided as an example] should have the disclaimer:
"This sample letter is not a good letter to copy, because it was not written by YOU." 
And, here's a short and sweet sample concern also sent to me recently by another concerned citizen:
The EIS should provide a more detailed explanation of the purpose and need for the project than is provided by the proponents application. 
Evaluate in detail the impact the operation will have on other industries, agencies and entities ability to start, develop and grow new projects that are dependent on quality of life environment to train, attract and retrain experienced employees.
Maybe these two ideas will help get other folks started in developing their own submissions to share soon with the agencies as well as other citizens. 
I expect another website will soon become available to collect and disseminate as much of this information as possible.
In the meantime, I'll be glad to accept citizen's comments also.
In case, folks want to use material from former blogs, here is a summary of links to the 53 previous blogs I've dedicated to this subject, to date:

1. Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear... Sunday, March 27, 2011

3. Good Mornin' America, How Are Ya? Wednesday, June 8, 2011

5. Making Tracks To Where? Friday, July 15, 2011

7. Coal Terminal: Trains & Infrastructure Saturday, July 30, 2011

9. Coal Terminal: Update on Developments Monday, August 1, 2011

10. Coal Terminal: Another Update Tuesday, August 2, 2011

11. Coal Terminal: Playing Defense Wednesday, August 3, 2011

13. Coal: A Global Perspective Thursday, September 1, 2011

14. Coal: Floyd McKay's Latest Crosscut Article Wednesday, September 28, 2011

15. Coal: Green versus Gold? Wednesday, October 19, 2011

16. Coal: The Role of Politics Wednesday, October 19, 2011

17. Coal: National Geographic Article Friday, October 21, 2011

18. Coal: NPR Weighs In With Two Articles Thursday, October 27, 2011

19. Big Coal meets Cherry Point's tiny herring Friday, October 28, 2011

20. Coal: Where Does Bellingham Really Stand? Sunday, October 30, 2011

23. Coal: Possible Good News? Thursday, November 10, 2011

25. Impacts: Coal Versus Oil Sands Thursday, November 17, 2011

26. Trains: 'Here's Mud In Your Eye'Thursday, December 15, 2011

28. Coal: Specific Actions Bellingham Must Take Sunday, January 1, 2012

29. Coal & Climate Friday, January 27, 2012

30. Constitution, Corporations & Coal Wednesday, February 22, 2012

33. Coal: Updating Public Concerns Thursday, March 29, 2012

34. Coal: Expanding Concerns  Monday, April 30, 2012

36. Coal: Shanty Town, USA?  Friday, May 18, 2012

37. Coal: May 31 Update  Thursday, May 31, 2012

38. Coal: "Cold Ironing" & Other Stuff  Monday, June 18, 2012

39. Coal: The City's Citizens Need To Be Heard!  Wednesday, June 20, 2012

40. Coal: Latest Developments  Saturday, June 30, 2012

41. Coal: Before the Council Meeting  Monday, July 2, 2012

42. Coal: After the Council Meeting - Sorta  Tuesday, July 3, 2012

43. Coal: A Few More Lumps  Saturday, July 7, 2012

44. Coal: Manna or Mammon?  Sunday, July 8, 2012

45. Coal: The Beat Goes On  Friday, July 13, 2012

46. Coal: SEPA Information  Monday, July 16, 2012

47. Tomorrow, HamsterTalk is 5 Years Old!  Thursday, July 26, 2012

48. Coal: Shipping in the Salish Sea  Monday, July 30, 2012

49. Coal: Part 1 - A Reporter At Large  Tuesday, July 31, 2012

50. Coal: Part 2 - A Reporter At Large  Wednesday, August 1, 2012

51. Coal: SSA Marine Info  Thursday, August 2, 2012

53. Coal: A Window of Opportunity for Citizens  Thursday, August 16, 2012

54. Coal: The Ant & The Elephant  Sunday, August 19, 2012