The clip is well worth watching. Doug Ericksen is running for County Executive, and the video shows his closing statement.
Mr, Ericksen took two interesting stands in this short clip. One will have to wait for another day and another blog, and that is his position that Whatcom County needs to buy some new science in order to favor property rights. On the panel with Mr, Ericksen was Steve Neugebauer, a controversial hydrogeologist who’s making quite a name for himself in property rights circles by fighting the Department of Ecology. Are his battles successful? Should Whatcom County pour taxpayer dollars into Mr. Neugebauer’s brand of science (as Doug said, he’s not free – “We probably aren’t going to able to afford this guy, he’s making too much money suing on stuff”)? Is that really in the best interest of all of the people of the County? These are all questions that Mr. Ericksen didn’t explore in his short speech, but that require serious consideration. Another day.
Today’s topic, however, is the “first law of politics,” to quote Mr. Ericksen.
(A little background: the agency team that is working to expedite the SSA coal terminal has put out a new schedule that predicts that "scoping" for the Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, will occur in January and February, 2012. “Scoping” will determine whether the EIS will consider (1) just the impacts on the Cherry Point site itself, apparently based on the premise that coal will be airdropped to the terminal by aliens, or (2) all of the impacts caused by the project, including the impacts caused by increased coal train traffic through Bellingham.)
Mr. Ericksen said:
“On November 8th -- I’m not going to talk about the campaign today, because it’s not a campaign event -- but I can guarantee you that the decisions that are made in February are decided on November 8. There’s just no other way to explain it when it comes to what happens in the world of politics. You can show up and, the number one rule of politics, I’ll give it to you quickly, it’s much easier to elect somebody who agrees with you than to change the mind of somebody who doesn’t.”
Bear in mind that SSA hasn’t even submitted a complete permit for its project yet. It submitted a permit that was rejected as incomplete by Whatcom County’s Planning and Development Services department. Not letting the lack of a permit stop it, SSA then engaged in some, er, so-called forestry activities, building roads and filling wetlands on the site without permits. As I’ve mentioned on this blog.
So how does Doug know that he supports the project?
Because he talked to “the people who advocate for it.”
To give Doug credit, he doesn’t mince words. Here’s what he said:
“That’s why I support the project, because I’ve met with the people who advocate for it and we know that it will be a good project for our region. It will be a very good project for our region, and working together we’ll get it accomplished.
I really appreciate your being here, and the key thing about it -- this is my last comment about November 8th – and the key thing about voting in November and getting the right people in place to protect your rights is that on a beautiful day like this, you can be putting up your duck blinds and not having to go a meeting, because you know that you’ll have people elected who are going to stand up and keep their word on what they said they’re gonna do.”
That’s what the man said. He and SSA, working together, will get this project through no matter what. There is no reason not to expect him to keep his word, if he’s elected in November.
I don't know how many people in Bellingham will be putting up duck blinds when that happens. If Bellingham residents don't pay attention to the County races, though, they'll be the sitting ducks.