Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coal Terminal Special: How the 1% Scopes

Let’s see.  So far:

The Gateway Pacific Terminal applicant assures us that its coal terminal project will follow the most exacting environmental procedures and criteria –

after the applicant bulldozed roads, cut down trees, and filled wetlands on Cherry Point, all without the necessary permits.

The GPT applicant exhorts us to “work through the process” –

and subverts the process by paying day laborers to take up limited speaker spots as an inducement for pro-coal bigwigs to speak, while at the same time denying the opportunity to citizens who stood in line for hours to make scoping comments.

The GPT applicant says to “wait for the science” –

while making sure that scoping meetings feature its project cheerleaders, who tout one-sided claims about jobs without waiting for the studies that could show that the coal export project's impacts – on jobs, humans, and the environment -- will result in a net loss to our community, state, region, and world.

GPT’s public relations spokesperson admitted that the project applicant paid day laborers to stand in line at yesterday’s scoping session in Spokane (“'A lot of our people have jobs,' said Hennessey”).   As far as I know, so far the applicant is not admitting that the practice originated in Ferndale – although by all accounts, the folks waiting in line at 8 a.m. for the first spots were not the head of on the staff of the Realtors REALTORS(R) (not representing the REALTORS(R)), the head of the Chamber of Commerce, and Joe Wilson, speakers 4, 5 and AFY.

This practice does suggest a mitigation measure that the 1% can get behind.  Has SSA Marine already committed to hiring folks to sit in line at rail crossings on behalf of our local VIPs, so they won’t have to waste their time waiting for 18 additional mile and a half long trains?  After all, they have jobs! 

For some reason, I found it particularly depressing that the GPT applicant apparently hired the Ferndale Event Center – the location of the Ferndale Scoping Session – for its own equivalent of an airport VIP lounge.  While the wretched masses huddled outdoors in the cold wind, SSA Marine is said to have provided its boosters with a nice buffet.

Scoping agencies, please!  Of all of the entities that you could emulate, could you not choose the airlines? 

Or maybe it’s too late to bypass the omnipresent trappings of our hardening national caste system, even in so-called “public process.”  The justice of the free market demands that the SSA Elite get the first class seating at scoping sessions.  And, as the airlines have taught us, those who haven’t paid extra for the best seats deserve to be treated like cattle.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, I say.  So the next time that somebody starts to talk about how much everybody in Whatcom County is going to benefit from coal terminal money, I’m going to ask for my own personal day laborer, too.  After all, I have a job.  I'm far too busy and important to do anything else.

I think that I’ll request an unemployed English major.  If Get Whatcom Planning’s literary content suddenly exhibits a dramatic improvement, you’ll know that I’ve been bought out.


  1. I need a researcher. And personal secretary. And housekeeper. And.... I'm sorry, where did you say we sign up?

  2. Thanks for the shout out to the REALTORS(R) Jean, but I'm afraid, once again, you have it all wrong. If you cared to check your facts, I was there in my personal capacity; I was not paid by the REALTORS(R) to be at the meeting. The REALTORS(R), for your edification, have not taken a formal stance on this project except to call for a robust public process and to request that Governor Gregoire utilize the Office of Regulatory Management to ensure an efficient and effective review of the proposal. I have a copy of the letter if you want.

    Indeed, I was given number 5 by an individual who HAD been standing in line for quite some time: my neighbor!! When I sat down in the hall, I didn't have any number and did not plan on speaking. I was going to listen to the people who did have numbers for awhile and then submit my written comments. About five minutes before the meeting began, Ms. Perry turned around and, seeing me, asked if I would speak for her and incorporate her concerns into my comments. I said I would and she gave me her number - I almost fell over when I saw it was number 5!

    This process would be better served if everyone stuck to the facts. Of course, I remember a recent e-mail from you complaining that I was engaged in the same conduct in which you now engage. In your words, "Oh how the mighty have fallen."

    Let's see how long this comment stays on your post. I bet it could be clocked with an egg timer!

    1. Hi Perry,

      Craig Cole has confirmed that line-sitters were hired in Ferndale.

      That is a remarkable coincidence with your neighbor.

      I will add "Head of the REALTORS(R) (not representing the REALTORS(R),")

      I only remove anonymous comments and comments that aren't civil. The only part of your comment that wasn 't civil was the part where you claimed that I ever said to you "Oh, how the mighty have fallen." That's not true.

      I did ask you to back up your claim that our Rural Element numbers were false with data, which you said you would do. Still waiting.

    2. Hi Perry,
      I took a photo of the people in line waiting to get in and speak at Ferndale. Unless Ms. Perry is a short man in a camo cap, she's not in line. In fact there are no women in the first 17 people in line.

      It strikes me as wrong for the proponent to hire people to block the public from speaking at a public meeting.


  3. Perry, I saw you arrive and you walked past probably 200 people standing in line. You did not wait in line. You went to the front. Just fess up that you were part of an effort to change the tenor of input.

    Also, I listened to your input and didn't hear any scoping comments. You said the property is zoned for heavy industry. No one is disputing that. What was your scoping comment?

    Finally, you said that you were booed when you left the stage. I asked those sitting around me if they heard any booing. Nope. Then, I went to the video and listened. No booing.

  4. Wow, a busy day on the blog, and my day laborer hasn't reported in. I'm on a break from a conference on naturally occurring asbestos, with speakers from as far away as Korea. I spoke about Swift Creek. Definitely the most -- interesting problem out there, I'd say.

    I had to remove three anonymous comments, including several long comments from "SJ" that made some interesting points. Please, everybody, sign your names!

    Perry Eskridge wrote to say that he's been banned from the blog. Nobody has ever been banned from the blog, and I certainly have no reason to ban Perry. From time to time, comments wind up in the "Comments Moderated" category and we don't notice them for a while (no comments there today). Otherwise, if you hit "Publish" and nothing shows up, you might not be signed in, or you may be having browser trouble. Try a different browser.

    Perry also sent me the e-mail that was the basis of his belief that I said "the mighty have fallen." It was actually a quote of a posting by Perry. So his comment was merely mistaken.

    Perry also was unhappy that I associated him with the REALTORS (R). Since he often makes that connection myself, I had not known that it was offensive. But I'll continuite to try to correct the reference in the blog, above.

  5. Jean,

    Might be the Obama economy day labor may pay more than being a consultant...What are you paying... I will report on time and be appropriately subservient...In this day and age only people who work for gvmt can afford day labor...

    1. Hmmm. If I were able to hire somebody, it would be somebody who could clean my house. I think that you'll understand if I say that you're not at the top fo that list.

      As for the other-- it's a mitigation measure, you see. Mitigating for the time that I spend on public process, the time that I will have to dedicate to waiting for trains to go by, and so forth. I don't think that the speakers in Spokane paid for their own line-sitters. You should apply to SSA for that job.