By John Stark
Many Gateway Pacific Terminal opponents seem to be furious that backers of the project — in their words — “hijacked” the Thursday, Nov. 29 Ferndale scoping meeting.
GPT backers did show up in force in an obviously well-organized effort to dominate the public testimony at the meeting. This strikes some opponents of GPT as unfair and underhanded. I just got off the phone with a person who assured me that every green-shirted supporter of GPT at Thursday’s meeting had been paid by SSA Marine to be there.
I have fired off an email to Gateway Pacific spokesman Craig Cole to see what he has to say about that.
Let me volunteer three observations:
–1. Thursday was a scoping meeting. It was a not a town hall affair intended to gauge the level of public support or opposition for the project. It was part of a process to gauge what specific issues should be studied as part of the permitting process. Some opponents and some backers of the project seemed to understand this. Some did not.
In any event, both supporters and opponents have until Jan. 21, 2013 to send in scoping comments to the regulatory agencies. Agency personnel insist that written comments get the same weight as those spoken into a microphone, even though written comments may offer far less emotional satisfaction to the commenter.
Here’s where to send written comments:
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By mail: GPT/Custer Spur EIS, 1100 112th Ave. NE, Suite 400, Bellevue, WA 98004.
–2. Lots of people in Whatcom County are supportive of Gateway Pacific. You might not like that, but it is awfully hard to deny.
–3. Demeaning the character or the intelligence of those people is a dubious political strategy. It strikes me as morally dubious too.
My personal belief is that the industrial civilization that provides the power to run this blog is going to have to undergo some dramatic changes in the near future if we want to avoid any of several possible collapse scenarios.
But as of now, the progressives who show up at public meetings to try to promote those changes are, in effect, asking other people to make some significant short-term financial sacrifices for the good of the cause. Those other people — longshoremen, construction workers, coal miners, etc. — are not enthusiastic about this.
Is there any way of addressing the concerns of these working people, while also addressing the real need to move as rapidly as possible to a sustainable energy system? Is riding roughshod over union labor the only practical course of action? I don’t pretend to have answers to those questions.
P.S. Update: I just got an email from a union carpenter who says she is opposed to GPT. I’m sure there are others like her out there. I hope you’ll comment here, or contact me directly if you prefer.