July 4th, Acme Parade

Thanks for all the support SafeGuard the South Fork received at the Acme parade on the 4th of July.

We were honored to receive the Community Spirit Award amidst such a beautiful community!

Patty Murray’s S. 942


While Mayor Pike’s announcement in oppositionto the proposed coal export terminal in Whatcom County is an important step in getting public officials to publicly oppose coal export from GPT, there is more work to be done in the area of local and national politics.

Take for example, Senator Patty Murray’s S. 942 Transportation Infrastructure Grants and Economic Reinvestment Act. Please take the time to read it closely, but in summary it is an all-purpose transportation infrastructure bill with a big bucket of money that could finance such things as the GPT piers, associated rail and road construction, and wetland mitigation. 

Oh…paid for by taxpayers should also be mentioned. 

There is no exclusion of coal export terminals in the bill either. However, it does exclude the “cost of dredging activities (3b),” which seems to make this bill tailor-maid for GPT.  A trojan horse, as one person put it.

At this stage, SGSF is interested in collecting as much information as we can about this bill. Please email us with your thoughts, comments, insights, and research. We will follow-up this post with a recommended course of action.

Until then, we’ll leave you with a bit of public information that we think may be relevant to understanding this process.

In a 2009 Public Financial Disclosure Report for Patty Murray, her husband, Rob Murray’s, retirement account with SSA Marine is valued between $250 & $500K.  Yes…SSA Marine, the largest marine operator in the world that wants to build a the largest coal export terminal in the country in Whatcom County. 

As the Seattle Weekly states in 2004, while “this connection is not widely known, it’s no secret.”

Gateway Pacific Terminal JARPA

We are currently coordinating with other regional groups to develop action items at the local, state, and federal level and will be forwarding these materials to you soon.

In the meantime, one action item is to keep the conversation alive locally and to become an information resource on the true costs of the proposed terminal, which Bob and Jeff laid out for us at Thursday’s forum. We will start drafting a fact sheet later this week.

Another action item in in response to SafeGuard the South Fork and the Coal Train forum making the front page of the Bellingham Herald yesterday. The comment section is available online for us to communicate public opinion on the issue.

There will be a planning meeting this Thursday, May 5 at 7:30. We’ll be sending out a message to the listserv once we determine a location. If you were not able to provide your email to us at the Coal Train Forum this past week and are interested in assisting with developing action items, conducting research, organizing future events, developing the web site, additional information resources, etc. drop us an email at info@safeguardthesouthfork.org and we will add you to the list.

In the meantime, for your reading pleasure here is the Gateway Pacific Terminal Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application [JARPA] Permit Application to Washington State.

Event: Coal Train Forum

Coal Train Forum
Acme Elementary School
April 28, 7:00-9:00PM

A community discussion of the possibility for round the clock, mile-and-a-half-long, open load coal trains to travel through the South Fork in route to the proposed Gateway Coal Terminal at Cherry Point.

Coal trains have a history of degrading human health, water, and agricultural & forestry lands, making communities along the “inland route” through Burlington, Sedro Woolley, Acme, Van Zandt, Deming, and points north and west out to the coast particularly vulnerable.

Bob Ferris, Executive Director, RESources for Sustainable Communities, Bellingham, WA will discuss the Proposed Gateway Terminal

Jeff Margolis, Proprietor, Everybody’s, Van Zandt, WA will present on “Safeguarding Public Rail Crossings.”

Nicole Brown, on behalf of Safeguard the South Fork, will facilitate a community dialogue and present action items.