With the Gateway Pacific shipping terminal, Whatcom County has the final piece of its Cherry Point industrial zone. This zone was designed specifically for industry in one location. The current refineries and aluminum plant have been good to our community. The high-paying jobs with excellent benefits and the taxes they pay are significant. Now we have the opportunity to build on that with a state-of-the-art shipping terminal.
I'm confident Gateway will meet the high environmental standards Washington requires, but what concerns me is the threat to the industrial zone itself. I believe extreme anti-industry groups are hauling in out-of-state money to block anything having to do with fossil fuels, even to the point of encouraging the de-industrialization of Whatcom County. They would like to see these businesses go away and even advocate using land use planning to do so.
Cherry Point has long been set aside for water-dependent heavy industries. Gateway won't require dredging, and will be a major link in getting American exports to Asian markets. We need the exports, we need the jobs, we need industries supporting our county. Join your neighbors in protecting Cherry Point as the valuable resource it is. Like far-sighted leaders several years ago, we also have the opportunity to welcome a new and well-regarded employer here, with benefits for years to come.
Nancy R. Powell