Wants more public input on terminal plan

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 16, 2014 

I believe our county government is stacking the deck to favor the proposed coal-export terminal at Cherry Point. I believe the county is undercharging SSA Marine for the county's costs of processing permits and preparing the state-mandated environmental impact statement and because I believe the county has told the public almost nothing about the environmental impact process.

I am strongly opposed to the county's use of taxpayer funds to subsidize the permitting process; SSA Marine should pay all of the county's costs for the environmental impact statement and the associated permitting processes.

I am also concerned that the public has received almost no information since publication of the scoping study on the contents of the environmental impact statement and when the draft will be published. The county should make public details of the topics that will be covered in the forthcoming environmental impact statement and those that will not be covered. The public also needs to know when the draft will be published, so we can prepare to comment on the draft.

Finally, I hope the county will provide a public-comment period more than the 30-day required minimum. The draft environmental impact statement is likely to be a long, complicated document. Citizens need sufficient time to read and understand this report in order to provide the county with thoughtful comments.

Eric Hirst

Bellingham

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