Journal of the San Juan Islands


Strength found in solidarity vs. coal | Letters

November 25, 2012 · Updated 12:07 PM

From where I live, it’s impossible to think about the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point without considering National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map 18421, which details how treacherous our waters are for sea-faring vessels.

We are surrounded by complex channels, shoals, and reefs in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia.

The full impacts of the ludicrous scheme to ship up to 48 million tons of coal from GPT to Asian markets must be viewed in the context of this detailed map resource.

And from what I witnessed on Saturday, Nov. 3, it seems that my fellow San Juan islanders also know that map pretty well.

Nearly 450 showed up to share their concerns at an Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Hearing about significant adverse impacts of the GPT on our community.

We had a chance to deliver 83 (of 85) two-minute comments, most of which related in some way to the marine environment; spills, ballast water, endangered and beloved species, spawning ground, shoals and reefs, and narrow channels. We were teachers, businesspeople, scientists, journalists, fishermen, parents, students, artists and so on. And we all spoke from a place of deep knowledge, concern and passion about our home, and the careless disregard others seem to have for it.

I don’t know if our comments will make will make a difference as this process grinds forward. I’m hopeful.

Our spontaneous and extended standing ovation at the end of the hearing, to thank agency personnel for coming to listen to our concerns, sent a powerful message that we’re here, we matter, and we care deeply about our community and environment.

As noted by a Lummi tribal leader recently, we’re all in this boat together, rowing the same direction.


Donna Riordan, Co-founder/Orcas NO COAL-ition


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