In a letter to the editor of the Action News, Richard Austin questions RE Sources for Sustainable Communities sponsorship of Bill McKibben presentation Tuesday in Fairhaven. The presentation was announced in the Skagit Democrats Action Newsletter last week. According to Richard:
"The announcement about Bill McKibben contains opinions trying to pass as fact. People have been working on perfecting the Cherry Point project for years. They are taking great pains to insure there will be no environmental degradation. In my opinion, RE Sources is pursuing a position that is not consistent with facts. The organization is resorting to emotional hooks rather than honoring proven actualities. Thousands of jobs would be created constructing the facility (the area was approved for such an undertaking years ago). Hundreds of new, permanent jobs would be produced. The state and the county would receive millions of dollars of tax revenues. Currently, the coal is being railed through Washington into British Columbia. The coal is going to China. That will continue with or without the Cherry Point project. Why should we forgo those good-paying jobs? Let’s keep them in the U.S.
The Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, and Jobs with Justice, and other worker-centered organizations have endorsed the project. Members of those organizations are environmentalists by nature. They also need jobs."
Richard Austin also asked why the discussion is being advertised in our Newsletter. I published the McKibben event because the Skagit Democrats Sustainability and Environment Committee has been asked to look into the Cherry Point coal terminal issue and how it will affect our community. Committee Chairman Steve Crider felt the event “will be our best opportunity to educate ourselves about the issue and who is engaged on various sides.” However, since the Skagit Democrats have not taken an official position on this issue McKibben’s presentation should have been and will be listed under Community Events rather the Democratic Events. Thanks go to Richard Austin for pointing this out. I began to edit the action news this winter - so I have just begun to publish the discussions about Cherry Point. The Whatcom County Democrats have a summary of the approval process for the Cherry Point facility on their website. Another description of the jobs vs the environment debate was published this year by Floyd McKay