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Cherry Point: Final vote on fossil fuel amendments
July 27 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
It’s finally time. After years of sustained community effort that prevented a massive coal export terminal in 2016 and has since supported a temporary moratorium on certain new fossil fuel permits at Cherry Point, the Whatcom County Council is set to hold a public hearing and vote on permanent land use rules for its fossil fuel industries on July 27. This will be the first time a local government in the U.S. will use land-use code amendments to permanently prohibit new refineries, coal plants, transshipment facilities, piers, and wharfs.
This is a pivotal moment for Northwest Washington communities and other U.S. refinery communities. Whatcom County’s move could usher in a new era of policymaking to regulate the fossil fuel industry, where local governments can use existing regulatory power to restrict the growth of fossil fuels in an era where the U.S. must swiftly transition to renewable energy sources.
When approved, these policies will offer refinery communities throughout the U.S. a roadmap for how they can enact stronger regulations to protect public health and vulnerable populations and local ecosystems, prevent the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, and expedite the transition to a clean energy economy in an era accelerating climate change.
These policies are an important step in the right direction, but greater action by the County will be needed to address the pollution burden borne by local communities, in particular Lummi Nation, who live in close proximity to heavy industry and fossil fuel operations. Remedying local environmental injustices that have persisted for decades will need to be an ongoing campaign for concerned community members and elected officials.
WHEN: Tuesday, July 27, at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET
WHERE: Whatcom County Council virtual meeting. Members of the media are invited to watch the proceedings online. Here is how you can participate in virtual Council meetings:
How to voice your support at virtual hearings: https://www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/47537/Instructions-for-Joining-Virtual-Council-Public-Hearing-WEB-OR-MOBILE-APP
The amendments were introduced on July 13, are included in the council agenda, and are available to view online: https://whatcom.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=9600038&GUID=CB8F4928-D7CE-4B19-B639-FC0437B300F5
Learn more about the changes being voted on, and some background on efforts to protect public safety and the Salish Sea at https://www.re-sources.org/2021/07/cherry-point-amendments-introduced/