Mayor Dan Pike continues to stress his opposition to the Gateway Pacific coal and bulk cargo terminal at Cherry Point as the four-way race to the Tuesday, Aug. 16 primary election continues.
He issued a press release today in solidarity with Whatcom Docs, a group of about 160 local doctors who contend that the added train traffic through the city would pose significant health risks, and they want those risks evaluated as the proposed terminal gets regulatory scrutiny.
Pike’s rivals for the mayor’s job have staked out a variety of positions. Kelli Linville says she opposes a coal terminal, but she has criticized Pike’s tactics, which she contends have made it harder for the city to make its case to regulatory agencies who will actually decide the project’s fate. The city has no direct role in the permitting process.
Clayton Petree said he would prefer to see the Gateway Pacific site used as a container port, and that option should be evaluated as part of the regulatory process. Steve Moore endorses Gateway Pacific.
Here is Pike’s press release:
BELLINGHAM, WA — AUGUST 10, 2011 – Mayor Dan Pike today made the following statement regarding an announcement by Whatcom County physicians group “Whatcom Docs.”
“Today, a group of 160 prominent physicians in Whatcom County released a large volume of research outlining the need to evaluate the health impacts of the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. The science is clear, the facts are indisputable and have been well documented in other communities with rail-served coal terminals like the one proposed for our community. These communities have seen increased rates of disease and death directly resulting from the presence of coal trains.
“In early June, I expressed my strong opposition to this coal terminal and my commitment to protect the citizens of Bellingham from its detrimental impacts, and then I followed up that position with proactive leadership: outreach to the Department of Ecology and building consensus with the mayors of affected communities across this state. The physicians associated with this study all share these concerns. There simply is too much data available about the harmful effects of coal-related airborne pollutants for us to allow this project to move forward.
“I urge everyone in Whatcom County to learn as much as they can about the health impacts of this project. I’m confident that they’ll come to the same conclusion as I and these doctors have: Coal does not belong in our community. It is unhealthy, it is dirty, and it is dangerous. We can do better than this. I will continue to oppose projects like this that pose an unacceptable risk to our communities’ physical and economic health. Please stand with me to protect Bellingham by opposing this coal terminal.”
(End press release)