Hopes for local representation on watershed planning in Whatcom County appear to be fading as even a stripped-down version of an update to the Watershed Management Plan failed to pass with just days to go before the deadline.
Last week the Whatcom County Council voted to move forward with a proposal for review by the Whatcom County Planning Commission which would dramatically change the operations and safety of Cherry Point Industries.
It appears that sometime in December, Councilman Donovan (as he stated in the COTW meeting) worked with Alex Ramel, Extreme Oil Field Director for STAND.earth; Eddy Ury, Clean Energy Program Manager forRE Sources and Tom Ehrlichman, Environmental Attorney withSalish Law, to draft even more expansive changes to impact the Cherry Point fossil fuel facilities. These changes expand conditional use permits for all fossil fuel facilities – refined and unrefined and expand SEPA and GHG analysis (see blog for more details).
The public meeting was called to order at 2:00 pm and immediately recessed to a closed executive session so board members could discuss potential litigation and potential real estate transactions. The meeting reconvened at 4:30 pm. Board President Ken Bell, Vice President Bobby Briscoe and Secretary Michael Bell were all present. No formal action was taken during the closed executive session.
The Whatcom County Council seems intent on stopping all future fossil fuel jobs at Cherry Point. The latest proposed changes to the county’s zoning rules would create nearly-impossible hurdles for developing new fossil fuel facilities and for expanding existing refineries.
A last-ditch effort to approve an update to the Watershed Management Plan for Whatcom County on time fails but hope for local input is not lost. Other local entities involved appear to be allowing more time to reach agreement.