Whatcom County Council Continues to Ignore the Voices from the Families, the Workers, the Businesses, and the Industries at Cherry Point, “Please Stop Your Destruction of Cherry Point Industries”

In Cherry Point Industrial Area, News by CTNW News6 Comments

For a sixth time the Whatcom County Council has extended its moratorium on new fossil fuel facilities at Cherry Point. The Council also agreed to get more legal review of the Jan. 15 proposed changes to the Comp Plan that would basically block future facilities of all fossil fuels.

On Jan. 29, 2019, the Council approved an ordinance (AB2019-064) “imposing an interim moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications and permits for new or expanded facilities in the Cherry Point Urban Growth Area, the primary purpose of which would be the shipment of unrefined fossil fuels not to be processed at Cherry Point.”

The vote to approve was 5-2 with council members Barbara Brenner and Tyler Byrd opposed.

Also approved was a resolution to “to clarify the intent” of its Jan. 15 proposed amendments to the preliminary draft Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code. Those proposed changes would require a Conditional Use Permit for the development of all new fossil fuel facilities at Cherry Point, not just unrefined fossil fuel facilities as the previous Oct. 9 draft spelled out. Council members said staff at Planning and Development Services (PDS) has had difficulty combining the 2-versions, and the decision needs further legal review.

The resolution, which replaces the Jan. 15 instructions, would ask PDS to work with Cascadia Law Group to come up with the new draft of the proposed Comp Plan Update amendments, which would then go to the Planning Commission for further review.

The text of the resolution reads:

“A resolution requesting the County Executive to provide staff resources and funding to allow Cascadia Law Group to complete the contract number 201708008 related to legal ways the County may choose to limit the negative impacts on public safety, transportation, the economy and environment from crude oil, coal, liquefied petroleum gasses and natural gas train shipments from the Cherry Point UGA.”

The resolution written by Councilpersons Browne, Donovan and Sidhu was introduced just 3 hours before the evening Council meeting during the Council’s Special Committee of the Whole meeting . The resolution was not posted online but 100 paper copies were available at the evening meeting.

Council members Byrd and Brenner were clearly upset about the release of the surprise document moments before a vote took place. Council member Brenner said, “they weren’t given enough time to digest the new proposal, and compared the resolution’s writers to dictators.” Council member Sidhu said, “the new resolution would add an extra layer of review.”

The Special Committee of the Whole agreed to postpone voting on the resolution until the evening meeting after the public hearing on the fossil fuel facility moratorium. The vote to approve the resolution was 4-2, Council Members Donovan, Browne, Frazey and Sidhu voting to approve, and Council Members Brenner and Byrd opposed. Councilmember Buchanan was absent.

During the public hearing, Michael Petrish with North Puget Sound Carpenters Local 70 told the council that Cherry Point industries “can protect the environment and provide for the economy.”

Full video of Jan. 29, 2019 Whatcom County Council meeting (video starts around 7:50pm):

Video starting at discussion of resolution at “9376”


  1. This is unacceptable! This is my families lively hood! This is what Whatcom County was founded on INDUSTRY! Listen to the people it’s your JOB!!! Not to just make decisions for us. Leave Cherry Point is Ferndales ONLY source or taxes for our school ALONE!!!!

  2. Last night the Whatcom County Council did another bait and switch and shoved through yet another document without proper public review. There are many egregious and harmful items in it. One of the worse is found on page 4 section i of the resolution.

    It aims to prohibit the construction of any refinery storage tanks and not let them even be considered as part of a permit process. It states that a Storage Capacity to Refining Capacity ratio will be used as a cap on storage facilities. The needs for storage tanks have nothing to do with some Ratio of Storage to Refining Capacity. Tanks are surge points needed to operate a refinery safely and efficiently. Changing markets, changing regulations, and new internal safety practices often will result in the need for new tanks. An example of a new regulation that will require new tanks is the new marine fuel spec IMO2020. Other needs require additional tankage such as:

    1. Changing global markets in crude require more tanks to separate the different crudes.
    2. Increasing the safety of normal operations, shutdowns and turnaround, by providing more surge between units
    3. Increasing tank inspection standards with tighter inspection intervals. (when a tank is out of service for inspection, another tank must be available)
    4. Cleaner fuel standards requiring more storage of blend stock
    5. Renewable fuel projects require tanks to separate different feedstocks and products.

    This and other process and refining business reasons will require the need for more tankage. This language must be struck in its entirety from the proposed language as it will prevent the refineries continually becoming safer, cleaner, and able to compete on the global marketplace.

    Whoever authored the language of section i, clearly doesn’t have even a rudimentary knowledge of how a refinery works (or they do and desire to be destructive to the Cherry Point industries). No refinery anywhere determines its tankage needs by a “Storage Ratio to Refining Capacity”. Determining tankage requirements are far more complex than that.

    The council is proceeding with policies that are destructive in so many ways without even consulting those that engineer, operate, manage, and permit these facilities. They do however consult the climate alarmists and put their language into the resolutions. Their agenda is now right out in the open: (limit the refineries ability to compete in the global market until they shutdown operations). They say the opposite but their actions, their unwillingness to engage with the professionals that engineer and operate the cleanest and safest industrial plants in the world, and their proposals speak much louder than any of their words.

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  4. I left the physically beautiful sate of WA because of all the ugly things i saw the Council doing in Whatcom County and what the” liberal progressive” are doing to the rest of the state. They attempted to take over the state we moved to but did not make it. I am so sick and tired of what I see happening to this country and to me personally. I will be writing a letter soon and intend to make it a point to put in how I have been personally affected (medically and emotionally) by the ignorance and the stupidity of these “people”! Believe me I have worked in places most of them would not believe. I am a 78 year old woman who wanted to keep working until the age of 80 then go back overseas to volunteer. I totally agree with Kashia and Bob and their comments. If we wanted communism I could have stayed overseas. These are people who cannot listen nor can they even think with common sense. They are what I have said in one paper I wrote political monsters.

  5. Let’s just poison the area.

    Look at the bay ….in Anacortes.

    A huge huge huge sand flat….

    So toxic from the refineries ..on the hill…that eating Anything from it would put you in the hospital.

    They used to dump the sulfur from the fuel extraction process directly along the sides of the roads into the refinery… literally making berms from waste sulfer.

    That’s what you are suggesting. Bring in an industry that historically has proven beyond any level of debate to ” do what is expedient for profits”.

    Taxes won’t pay for your child’s cancer bills. It won’t fix his mercury caused retardation.

    Taxes won’t clean the water that’s polluted… Refineries don’t even document spills less than a hundred gallons.
    Change a pipe out and spill a few gallons? Dump sand on it. ” It dissipates” . My source?
    Childhood with a “Lead Chemical Engineer (at the Conoco refinery in Anacortes) as my foster father.

    Hey dad… where’s the book that says how much of something is toxic over what period of time?
    ” We have really good estimates.”

    Oh… so your guessing?


    I become an environmental activist.

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