Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coal Terminal and Rural Development: Updates

As I mentioned, the County’s e-mails show that it has scheduled a “pre-scoping” meeting Bellingham High School on March 20.  The County’s latest batch of e-mails (see page 7) shows that the meeting will start at 6 pm and end at 8 pm.  

I hope that the County doesn’t wait to provide public notice of this event until it has received applications for the coal terminal – since the applications aren’t expected until the day before!

Blaine’s newspaper, The Northern Light, picked up on the “pre-scoping” and gave credit to Get Whatcom Planning (click here).  Nothing in the Herald yet. 

“We’re Throwing a Party!” referred to the fact that Whatcom County is donating its staff time to the coal terminal project, after the first 20 hours.  This issue is discussed further in today’s “Gristle,” in the Cascadia Weekly (click here).

The County is changing the schedule shown in this blog, in order to provide the public with more time to review the measures that it’s proposing to “contain and control” rural development and otherwise comply with the Growth Management Hearings Board’s Order.

The March 8th meeting of the Planning Commission will be a work session, not a public hearing.  The March 22nd meeting will include a public hearing. 

This falls during my spring break, which I’ll be celebrating in Iowa (who wouldn’t?).  All the more reason for you, our readers, to plan to attend.  We’ll be posting more about this once the County’s made its proposal public.


  1. Jean,

    Thanks for the shout-out-in-response to my post on The Northern Light's Lighthouse Blog. I greatly appreciate the work you do in attempting to explain the county's planning decisions to a wider audience.

    1. Thank you, Jeremy! Quite a compliment from the Third Estate.

  2. I second Jeremy's compliment. Thanks for this resource and analysis.

    I also want to credit County Planning for routinely posting all their email correspondences. Makes it all very transparent.

    Lots of Planning going into the BHS "pre-scoping" meeting (although I think their estimate of 395 chairs probably needs a 20% "safety factor" :-), so you can't say Whatcom doesn't PLAN!!

    Curious, Jean, why you revised the UFS fee for GPT permitting downward to $2,625 when T Schroeder indicated it was $25 higher? My records search could produce no other number. I'm confident your number is the most correct, just not sure why.


    1. Why, thank you Tim. Back at ya.

      The County's Unified Fee Schedule says $2,625 for an EIS, same fee for the Major Project Permit. at page 11. Also posted on the PDS website:, page 11.

      Don't tell me that Tyler has been bilking applicants out of an additional $25! What an outrage! :)

  3. I wonder what the point of the pre-scoping meeting is, other than to check the box that they did it. It's not like it will matter.

    And, is the rental of the school part of the $2600+/- fee? God forbid that the City will have to pay for cops to patrol the place. More subsidy from city taxpayers.

    Yours truly,f
    Mr. Grumpy Pants.

    1. Don't let those "expired" permits that were extended under the County's illegal and invalid ordinance get you down.

      We can hope that the Department of Ecology is footing the bill. State agencies' activities have been covered from the start. Whatcom County isn't a party to that contract. Perhaps the assumption was that the County already had a cost recovery mechanism in place.

  4. Talking in public about the Coal Export Terminal I get a lot of questions with a pained look, "What is scoping." as if Sam Crawford might use some sort of stainless steel device on them!

    Because "I don't want coal trains" is not enough this is our opportunity to raise awareness that each of us needs to do some research and thinking,

    I do not believe they can hold a pre-scoping meeting without a permit unless they feel confident they can rely on the action by the Army Engineers to proceed with one of the permits.

  5. The press release is now out for the pre-scoping meeting. Has an application been received?