Xwe’chi’eXen

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

gpt-project-diagram-doe

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…)

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

county-council-photo

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…)

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…)

“SSA Marine’s actions defined the project as a coal terminal.”

Facebook post sharing a letter to the editor by Sandy Robson, published in the Wall Street Journal on June 12, 2016

(more…)

A Letter of Gratitude to the Lummi Nation

Letter by Dena Jensen

lead this journey 081814

On May 12, 2016 this letter was sent to Lummi Nation and to the individuals mentioned by name in the letter:

Dear People of the Lummi Nation:

It was probably about two years ago that I was fortunate to first attend a presentation by members of the Lummi Nation at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship. These tribal members, Jewell James and Jay Julius among them, shared information about your cultural heritage, and your connection and sacred responsibility to Xwe’chi’eXen.  I remember being welcomed and empowered by the kind and compelling words of the speakers.  We were asked to bear witness to past struggles and tragedy that the Lummi people have suffered, and the perseverance and bold efforts that propel you forward in your sacred responsibilities to protect your culture, language, way of life, lands, and waters for the benefit of many future generations. (more…)

Forwarding racism: The Northwest Jobs Alliance

March 3, 2016  by Dena Jensen

nwja memo disclaimer

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…)

Members of Congress seek to undermine Lummi Nation’s request to the Army Corps for immediate GPT permit denial

Totem Pole at northern plains

The 22-foot western cedar totem pole, which features animals and symbols important to the Northern Cheyenne people was created by Master Carver and Lummi Elder Jewell James and the House of Tears carvers, of the Lummi Nation. The totem pole is a gift from the Lummi Nation to members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in southeast Montana as a symbol of solidarity between two tribes whose homelands are threatened by proposed coal export projects. A dedication ceremony for the totem pole was held on January 22, 2016, outside the Northern Plains Resource Council building in Billings, Montana, where the totem pole will stand until a more permanent home is found on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Photo courtesy of the Northern Plains Resource Council.

by Sandy Robson

Author’s note:  Today, one hundred and sixty-one years ago, the Treaty of Point Elliott was signed on January 22, 1855, by Isaac Stevens, then-Governor of Washington Territory, and by Duwamish Chief Seattle, Lummi Chief Chow-its-hoot, Snoqualmie Chief Patkanim, and other chiefs, subchiefs, and delegates of tribes, bands, and villages. 

elliot-plaque

Elliott Treaty monument in Mukilteo, WA

In my endeavor to honor today’s 161st anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Point Elliott, this piece brings attention to the disturbing fact that, presently, certain members of Congress are dishonoring that very same treaty as they seek to undermine it. 

Treaty rights of the Lummi people are secured to them by the U.S. federal government in the Treaty of Point Elliott. Specific to treaty fishing rights, is Article 5 of the Treaty provides that, “The right of taking fish from usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the Territory. . .” (more…)