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Recommended Local Actions for the Week of 20170306

Act by Tuesday, 3/7! Support Whatcom County Council interim ordinance and state legislation responding to Hirst decision

**Source: RE Sources for Sustainable Communities (edited)**

In the Hirst decision, the Court ruled that Whatcom County, in issuing building permits with permit-exempt wells as water source, failed to comply with GMA requirements in protecting water resources.  Whatcom County Council has scheduled a special presentation on the issue at their 3/7 meeting, where they will show a 20-minute video, ask questions of state and local water experts, and hold a public hearing on a proposed interim ordinance.  Click for more information on the meeting and additional background information.  We also hosted an Ask-Me-Anything on Facebook on this issue last week.

  • Ask Whatcom County Council to renew the interim ordinance (AB2016-309D) that limits use of exempt wells in the Nooksack basin for new development in order to be in compliance with the State Supreme Court and protect senior water rights and stream flows.
  • Contact your legislators to support HB 1918 and oppose SB 5239!
    • Contact your legislators offices directly.
    • Submit comment online: HB1918 or SB5239.
    • Legislature Hotline: 1-800-562-6000
    • Suggested script:
    • Please support HB 1918, which allows people who were in the process of building homes when the Hirst decision was issued to resume development and use an exempt well. Counties must mitigate the use of those new wells within 5 years. This is common sense and will not undermine senior water right holders.
    • Please oppose SB 5239. New exempt wells that aren’t mitigated will further strain our limited water resources especially in the summer when everyone — people, farms, and fish — need it most. New exempt wells will be stealing water from other senior water right holders like farmers. The situation will only get worse with population growth.


ACT BY Tuesday, 3/7!  Support Whatcom County Council in Comprehensive Plan policies for Cherry Point, extending fossil fuel export moratorium

**Source: RE Sources for Sustainable Communities (edited)**

Although SSA Marine has withdrawn their 2011 county permits for a coal terminal at Cherry Point, Cherry Point remains a targeted route to export crude oil, tar sands, and fracked gas. In March 2017, the Whatcom County Council is working on updates to their Comprehensive Plan policies for Cherry Point. This is a huge turning point for the future of our community.  Join us in calling on the Whatcom County Council to take actions to protect the public by discouraging projects to bring more dangerous crude oil shipments through Whatcom County, Cherry Point, and the Salish Sea.  For more information, click here.

Send a comment to the Whatcom County Council by March 7th and encourage them to extend the temporary moratorium on permits for fossil fuel export projects.

  • Contact the Council by phone or email.
  • Talking points
    • As a [insert city] resident and citizen of Whatcom County, I implore you to act to the full extent of your power to protect our community’s health and safety, farms, fisheries and natural resources from the dangers of fossil fuel shipments by rail, pipeline and marine vessel. Cherry Point is a targeted route to export crude oil, tar sands, fracked gas, and propane from Canada, which would bring high risks of spills, leaks, explosions, pollution, traffic, a local tax burden, reduced property values, and the degradation of our quality of life.
    • I urge you to take the following actions, without delay:
      • Extend the temporary moratorium on permits for fossil fuel export projects until the Shoreline Master Plan is updated and until new development regulations are implemented. Additionally, please add a moratorium on applications for any modification of piers, docks, or wharfs in or adjacent to the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve.
      • Commence a legal study into Whatcom County’s powers to prevent future development for coal, oil, and gas exports.
      • Strengthen policies in the Comp Plan to prevent piecemeal upgrades for oil exports by requiring Magnuson Amendment review of all permits that involve handling petroleum; block any new proposals for shipping piers in the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve; recognize Lummi Nation’s history and treaty-protected fishing rights; and complete a legal study by December 2017.
    • I support your work to protect the ecological and cultural significance of Cherry Point.



Whatcom Community Foundation is pairing people of diverse backgrounds for one-on-one dinners.  To be considered for the project:

  1. Take the PBS quiz (no personal information requested) and receive a score.
  2. Submit an application


HB 1611: Tell your legislators you care about protecting communities from crude oil

**Source: RE Sources for Sustainable Communities (edited)**

We are in the thick of the legislative session, and your legislators need to hear that you care about protecting your community from crude oil.  The Oil Transportation Safety Act (HB1611) needs additional support to move from committee and make its way to a full floor vote in the House. This is a commonsense bill that holds the oil industry accountable for the risks they pose to our communities and waterways.  For more information, click here.

Contact your legislators to let them know you support this bill and that it deserves a full vote on the House floor.

  • Suggested script: I am concerned about the ongoing threat that oil trains, pipelines, and tankers pose to my community and our waterways. The Oil Transportation Safety Act (HB 1611) is a commonsense approach to strengthening our prevention, response and preparedness program. Let’s not wait for a spill or other disaster to happen to take action. I urge you to vote YES on HB 1611 and protect all of Washington from crude oil transport. Thank you for considering my comments, and I look forward to your response.


From the Calendar

7 March 2017 – Whatcom County Council meeting.  Attend in person or attend our watch party.

14 March 2017 – Whatcom Conservation District ballot due – We sent questions to candidates and will share those responses as we receive them.