Take Action: Gravel Mining in the South Fork

Disappointedly, the Whatcom County Council voted 3-4 on August 9th to change 280 acres of forestry land to  a mineral/mining designation, which essentially lays the ground work for one of the county’s largest gravel mines to be located in an ecological sensitive area in the South Fork Valley. The rezone is on a steep slope at the base of Eddy’s mountain, located above the Nooksack and Samish Rivers and integral to salmon recovery projects in the area. In addition to the endangered Chinook, the proposed mining is in very close proximity to several organic farms that also depend on a secure watershed fueled by the aquifer recharge area that Whatcom County Council has slated for strip gravel mining.

With the council vote being so close (3-4), County Executive Pete Kremen has the authority to veto the decision based on his understanding of this unique ecologically and culturally sensitive area.

Please add your support by acting on the following request made by Friends of the Nooksack Samish Watershed, which has been leading this long fight for our water, our farms, and our rural heritage. And, please consider forwarding this onto your contacts.

The deadline is tight:  Monday August 15th
E-mail: pkremen@co.whatcom.wa.us

Phone (360) 676-6717

If you’d like, you can also cc, or bcc nick@sunseedfarm.com and annamartin@yahoo.com

Feel free to copy and paste the following text into an email to Pete Kremen with any additions or changes that you would like him to know about. For example, he is currently running for County Council so, for instance,  a veto on this issue may provide a huge burst of enthusiasm for his campaign.

Dear Executive Kremen,

I was very disappointed by the outcome of the vote on the 280 MRL expansion in Acme. The county residents are very concerned about this issue and we are more politically aware and active than ever.  I realize that you are running a campaign and we are looking for a candidate that will listen to his constituency. The Council majority did not properly review the evidence or listen to the public on this issue. This area is upslope from two rivers and jeopardizes millions of dollars in restoration work, our local fisheries, and numerous local farms and businesses–all for gravel that will most likely serve Skagit and Snohomish counties where the mining company is located. Please maintain the forestry zoning of this land so that the current balance of resources–water, forest and agriculture–can continue to thrive in the South Fork valley. The Council made the wrong decision on this MRL proposal and I’m urging you to veto this regressive ordinance now, before it is too late.

Sincerely,

Thanks so much for supporting these efforts, which will hopefully make a big difference to this part of the world.

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Writing Letters: The "Inland" Route?

Due to technicalities wherein county government might find itself in a quasi-judicial status sooner than we think, we need concerned citizens to share their opinions with two media outlets immediately: the Whatcom County Council and Executive Pete Kremen. Once they have a permit for the Gateway Pacific Terminal [GPT] in hand they have a quasi-judicial status and cannot receive any input from the public. This means we have to get letters in right away. Tell everyone you know to write! write! write! now! While they are still allowed to listen!

Our affiliate, RESources has a useful fact sheet available. Additionally, SGSF is in the process of developing a similar list of county impacts, so please email and send us any information you regard as worthwhile.

Don’t be bashful about writing to Bellingham Mayor, Dan Pike, who has done his best to tacitly support the coal terminal while simultaneously steering the coal train and its unnecessary impacts onto Skagit and Foothills folk! His so called “inland route” conjures up some desolate void out in the middle of nowhere … “away from population centers.” In actuality, his comment foists these mile and a half long monstrosities on the many population centers of Mt. Vernon, Burlington, Sedro Woolley, Acme, Deming, Nooksack, Lynden, Sumas, and Blaine. Thank you NOT Mr. Mayor. 

Truth be told, intricate interstate commerce legislation allows railroads, such as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe [BNSF], tremendous leeway to do what is in their most profitable interest and if GPT gets permitted the train will eventually be looping around the entire county.

Choose your targets friends and neighbors: GPT or BNSF. Which reminds me! There is an online petition available urging elected officials to support No Coal to China for Northwest Ports.