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Public hearing on Cherry Point moratorium: August 2018

Send in your comments today! Below is a template you can adapt and email the Whatcom County Council, asking for better protections for public safety and the environment in Cherry Point.

On August 8th, 2018 the Whatcom County Council is voting again to extend the temporary moratorium on permits for unrefined fossil fuel transshipment expansions in the Cherry Point Urban Growth Area (UGA). The temporary moratorium must be renewed until county code revisions are finalized. After years of public pressure urging the county to ensure these revisions to protect public safety and critical habitat around the Cherry Point UGA, the county is still in the process of drafting a major new ordinance.

The council needs to hear from residents in support of more protective amendments. You can still email your comment on this ordinance after the hearing, if you cannot make it.

You can send comments to the Council at, and to each councilmember:

Email template

SUBJECT LINE: Cherry Point amendments

Honorable Councilmembers, 

[ADD personal note about who you are and why you are concerned]

I implore you to strengthen standards and conditions for project permits in the Cherry Point UGA, to protect our communities from the burden of risk and adverse impacts on health and safety from transporting heavy crude oil and other hazardous materials through Whatcom County. 

Oil companies have gotten a free pass in this county for over 60 years. We’ve had our fair share of risks and hazards from oil trains, tankers and pipelines. It’s time that Whatcom County started making conditions and standards to protect public safety and the environment. 

New facilities to ship coal, oil or gas should be prohibited, and existing facilities should be held to the highest standards for safety and pollution control. Permits for upgrades must require SEPA EIS review of cumulative impacts with a greenhouse gas life-cycle analysis, total mitigation of climate pollution, and conditions to require no adverse impacts on herring, salmon, orca, or other endangered species. 

In 2012-13, Whatcom County permitted two oil-by-rail unloading facilities which have brought near-daily shipments of >100-unit explosive tank cars through Bellingham and Ferndale, without requiring an environmental impacts study. Projects such as these highlight the inadequacy of County procedures to reasonably protect our communities from unacceptable hazards. 

Cherry Point is at risk again of becoming a transshipment point to load tankers with ‘tar sands’ heavy crude oil from Canada’s Trans Mountain (Puget Sound) Pipeline, which would increase the risk of an oil spill in endangered species’ habitat and on our beloved shorelines of the Salish Sea. 

Furthermore, it is a waste of county resources to process or approve project permits without prior federal authorization for compliance with treaty-protected tribal fishing rights and laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Please ensure that our tax dollars are not again wasted on reviewing and permitting unlawful projects, as was done for Gateway Pacific Terminal. 

Thank you for your hard work and diligence in service of our county,

CITY (address optional)