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Status report on Whatcom County permitting process for Gateway Pacific coal terminal

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Photo of slide featuring the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal project. Slide is from a March 20, 2012 presentation on the Environmental Review Process for the Gateway Pacific Terminal and BNSF Custer Spur Proposal, given by Whatcom County Planning and Development Services, and the Washington Department of Ecology.

UPDATE: This article was updated on February 11, 2017. It was originally published on February 1, 2017.

GPT applicant Pacific International Holdings/Pacific International Terminals, sent a February 7, 2017 letter to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services, withdrawing its three permit applications (two in 2011, and one in 2012) submitted for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal project at Cherry Point.

Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS) sent a February 8, 2017 email response to PIH/PIT, acknowledging receipt of the company’s February 7th letter in which it notified the County that it was withdrawing its three permit applications for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal project.

In its February 8th email, Whatcom County PDS let PIH/PIT know the County would be canceling the pre-hearing conference with the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner and notifying the public and other interested parties of the permit withdrawals. 

February 1, 2017

by Sandy Robson

Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) proponent Pacific International Holdings (PIH) is still at it, trying to bluster and bully Whatcom County into doing their bidding. It seems PIH, formerly known as Pacific International Terminals (PIT), a subsidiary of SSA Marine, wants the County to politely stand by until PIH decides if and how its company would like to force through a project, the construction of which according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would violate Lummi Nation’s Usual & Accustomed treaty fishing rights. (more…)

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Whatcom County Executive Office misconstrued coal port EIS contract intent in presentation to County Council

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Whatcom County Council members at the September 13, 2016, evening Whatcom County Council meeting in Bellingham, WA

by Sandy Robson

Most of the public attending the September 13, 2016 Whatcom County Council Finance and Administrative Services Committee meeting, and the Council members themselves, appeared to buy the story being sold to them that day by Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws and his Deputy Executive Tyler Schroeder, about the then-proposed Contract Amendment No. 5.1 that would extend the suspension of the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the coal export terminal project at Cherry Point, Washington. (more…)

Searching for traces of coal: major energy industry law firm sends two letters to Whatcom County

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Click on the graphic to access a PDF copy of the September 27, 2016, three-page letter sent to Whatcom County Deputy Prosecutor Karen Frakes from Attorney Erin Anderson, of Stoel Rives LLP, on behalf of the Whatcom Business Alliance

October 1, 2016

by Sandy Robson

At the September 27, 2016 Whatcom County Council meeting about 70 people testified during the Public Hearing for the ordinance imposing an interim moratorium (6 months) on the acceptance and processing of applications and permits for new or expanded facilities that would facilitate the increased shipment of unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point. (more…)

GPT legal threats foster bottleneck of government-to-government relationship with Lummi Nation

July 26, 2016  Dena Jensen

Guess, what?  The processing of the GPT permit by Whatcom County has led, not only to a choking of due process for the public regarding Comprehensive Plan update issues that pertain to Cherry Point Industry, but also to a formidable restriction of the government-to-government relationship between Lummi Nation and our county government in matters involving Cherry Point. (more…)

Gateway Pacific Terminal: Unraveling the mystery of Peabody’s relationship with SSA Marine

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by Sandy Robson

News that Peabody Energy, the world’s largest publicly owned coal producer, had filed for bankruptcy protection, broke nationwide on April 13, 2016.

That news was of particular interest in Bellingham, Washington, because the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT), a 48 million metric ton per year coal export facility, is proposed for Cherry Point, in Whatcom County, and Peabody, in 2011, had reportedly agreed to be the first customer, looking to ship its Powder River Basin coal to Asia through the terminal. The GPT applicant, Pacific International Terminals (PIT), is a subsidiary created for the GPT project by SSA Marine, the world’s largest independent, privately-held marine terminal operator. (more…)

Press Release: Whatcom County Citizen calls for House Committee on Ethics Investigation into Congressman Ryan Zinke

March 16, 2016 | Press Release, Coal Stop
Whatcom County Citizen calls for House Committee on Ethics Investigation into Congressman Ryan Zinke 

(Bellingham, WA) March 16, 2016 – Today, Blaine, Washington resident Sandy Robson, sent a certified letter to thezinke official photo United States House Committee on Ethics, calling upon the committee to open an investigation into Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT), for potentially violating the United States House of Representatives Code of Official Conduct.

News media in Billings, Montana and Bellingham, Washington, reported that Congressman Zinke had sent a March 15, 2016 letter to Glenn Fine, the Acting Inspector General at the Department of Defense (DoD), asking for an official DoD investigation into Colonel John G. Buck, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Seattle District, relating to his responsibilities on the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT).

(more…)

Forwarding racism: The Northwest Jobs Alliance

March 3, 2016  by Dena Jensen

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This is one of those stories that gradually unfolds to its stomach-turning conclusion. I will be walking you through it step by step, so bear with me.

(more…)