Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Wrong Place At the Wrong Time

Picturing Cherry Point

A few people have mentioned today that they appreciated my last blog, documenting the apparent divergence between what SSA is doing on Cherry Point and what it’s actually authorized to do, but that they didn’t follow the links. The links lead to large PDF documents. Dealing with large PDF documents on-line is a pain in the butt, so I understand completely.

Fortunately, Matt Krogh from RE Sources has come up with some maps that make the same point. If you click on the maps, you should get larger images.

On the left, the base map is the actual, 2008 map showing the geotechnical “borings” that the County authorized. The red rectangle shows the general area where land disturbance took place. You’ll notice that there appears to be no overlap at all. The land disturbance area is entirely outside the area where borings were authorized to take place.

On the right, the green horseshoe-shaped area is the “East Loop.” That’s where coal would be transported and stored for shipping.

Although geotechnical activities weren’t authorized there, that’s where they took place – and that’s what the red rectangle is showing.

The “West Loop,” on the left side of the same map, is proposed for Phase II of the project. That’s where bulk commodities that AREN’T coal would be stored for shipping.

This is the area where almost all of the geotechnical activities were authorized to take place. But none of the “geotechnical” clearing took place there.

In short, it appears that “exploration” (as wetland destruction, land clearing and tree-felling have recently been labeled) took place in the coal export area, where there was no authorization, but not in the “bulk commodities” area, where it was authorized.

Words are worth a thousand pictures?

Matt Krogh talked about this situation on The Joe Show today, starting about 25 minutes in. Click here.

And Carl Weimer, followed by Bob Watters of SSA Marine, have also spoken about this issue on the radio. I listened to the KGMI interview from this Latte Republic link.

The SSA (Bob Watters) part of the interview was a real head-scratcher.

First, Bob Watters seems to have said that SSA’s alleged authorization to clear land was not based on its 1997 permit. It was based on a separate “2008 permit.” Well, except that there was no “2008 permit.” In 2008, there was a limited administrative authorization, with stringent conditions, to do some geotechnical borings – based on the 1997 permit.

It’s pretty easy. There has been no “permit” since 1997. There hasn’t even been a completed permit application.

And then Bob Watters said that the land clearing was part of the Environmental Impact Statement.

Say what?

Who’s responsible for the Environmental Impact Statement? Why yes, Whatcom County (and now, the Department of Ecology).

Who hires the consultants for the Environmental Impact Statement? Why yes, that would be Whatcom County (and the other lead agencies, the Department of Ecology and the Army Corps of Engineers).

If the County, the Department of Ecology, and the Army Corps of Engineers hired the consultants who were out clearing the property at Cherry Point, I certainly hope that they will step forward and say so.

I don’t think that they will.

Unless the agencies and the Bellingham Herald are holding out on us, I don’t think that SSA has even completed a permit application. I haven’t heard that the “lead agencies” have hired consultants to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement.

So I'm skeptical, to put it mildly, that any darn thing that SSA decides to do out on that property is OK because it’s part of the Environmental Impact Statement process, when the Environmental Impact Statement process hasn’t even begun.

Next line of defense: Carl and his dogs chopped those trees down themselves, to make it look like road-clearing had taken place. Wait for it. . . wait for it. . . .

1 comment:

  1. More clear thinking that is presented in a way that all of us can understand, thanks!