A recent letter writer wrote that Gateway Pacific Terminal will be a game changer, stating that more than 1,000 permanent jobs will result. I believe this figure it is wrong, since the official SSA/PIT permit application clearly states that by the end of stage 4, the terminal will only employ just under 300 permanent jobs. The temporary jobs are just that and will vanish quickly. A booklet called “Facts and Impacts of GPT,” produced by Save Birch Bay, highlights important facts in the permit application and is available at your local library.
It is irrefutable that coal is full of heavy metals, is toxic and is a carcinogen. The author must not know about the tiny microscopic particles of coal dust which I believe will blow in the air and settle permanently in people’s lungs, silently causing disease over time. The permit application also points out that the 60-foot-high piles of coal will be uncovered, open to the elements, until it is loaded into conveyors. Everywhere it falls or accumulates, I believe toxic pollution will result and cause negative changes in the ecosystem. Gateway will bring nine trainloads of coal daily into Whatcom County. I believe the fate of tourism and fishing industries will far outweigh jobs that are secured at the terminal. Gateway is a game-changer, an ugly game where I believe a few walk away extremely wealthy, while thousands will lose money, health and environment.