Friday, November 4, 2011

Kelli Linville: Clearly Opposed to Coal

Back in February I began putting together a bit longer than normal post on the potential coal terminal sites in Washington State coal-terminals-in-washington-state. The purpose of the post was to think through some of the issues from a state-wide perspective about coal terminal locations. At that time a proposed Longview coal terminal was in the news and there was a proposal for exporting coal at Cherry Point in northwest Washington. I have written a few other posts about the issue of exporting coal from the Powder River Basin to China via Washington State coal-stories, bellingham-and-fort-collins, coal-terminal-preemptive-strike, coal-politics-comes-to-washington and coal-politics-in-bellingham-yuk.

Just prior to putting that post up in February 2011, the mayor of Bellingham came out in favor of the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. The mayor dismissed objections to the coal terminal by stating "It (coal export) is not the smartest thing for the U.S. to do. It's not the dumbest thing we've ever done either. ... I live in the real world. A lot of people operate from a theoretical perspective." (Bellingham Herald). That statement caused Reading the Washington Landscape to deviate a bit off neutrality on politics and I took a very, very, subtle dig at the mayor. You see, I do not view CO2 levels in our atmosphere going to levels not seen since the Eocene as being even remotely not a really dumb thing.
The mayor had previously brought forward a resolution in favor of the terminal in October 2010 in strong support of the terminal 25oct2010_AB19001.PDF that included the statement "the Mayor of Bellingham, Dan Pike, joins with Council in its strong support of this project." and "We (City of Bellingham) seek to ensure that our policies and actions encourage, foster and facilitate .... expeditious development of the shipping terminal project of SSA Marine."

The mayor remained in favor of the project all the way into May of this year. The Bellingham Herald's John Stark reported that at a Sierra Club meeting on the issue "The meeting was jam packed, and most of the people there seemed upset at the thought of as many as nine loaded coal trains rumbling along the city waterfront each day. Linville (challenger to the mayor) told the group she had always been in favor of a multi-purpose export pier at Cherry Point as a source of jobs and tax revenue, but she opposed a single-purpose coal terminal. "I don't support coal burning," she told the May crowd. "I would much rather be exporting clean energy technology to China." At the same meeting, Pike expressed deepening concerns about negative impacts on waterfront redevelopment and city traffic, but he still talked of finding ways to avoid those impacts, rather than blocking the project altogether. Among other things, he repeated his suggestion that some or all of the coal trains headed for Cherry Point could be routed via a lightly used line along Highway 9 through Acme, rather than through Bellingham. Linville said she didn't think it was right to shift the negative impacts of coal trains to somebody else."

Kelli Linville clearly stated in May "I do not support burning coal". In May, Mayor Pike was still in favor of the terminal but with valid concerns about the impacts of rail traffic to the city.

In June the mayor came out opposed to the coal terminal. Almost immediately the mayor campaign shifted into presenting Dan Pike as the first leader to oppose the coal project. The campaign has gone further and claimed Kelli Linville has been on the fence and imply that she is in favor of the coal terminal. Never mind what Kelli Linville said so clearly in May "I do not support burning coal."      

Kelli Linville has a legislative history regarding coal, CO2 as well as dealing with some very difficult policy issues that often paralyze politicians. Kelli's position on the Washington State Climate Action Team led to State CO2 legislation to reduce CO2 emissions. That legislation led to Washington State getting involved in the appeal of the coal terminal project in Longview this past winter on the basis that the project would increase Washington State's CO2 emissions.

Specifically to coal: Kelli sponsored legislation that led to a process that will close the last remaining coal fired electric power plant in Washington State.

When Kelli stated in May "I do not support burning coal", she meant it.   

Reading the Washington Landscape is about notes and observations regarding the Washington landscape. I have made a fair effort to keep political opinions out of this blog. But our landscapes are greatly shaped by people and politics plays a significant role in policy that shapes our landscape.

Back in February I noted that the coal terminal issue in Whatcom County and in Longview was "A nice divisive issue to pit community folks against each other". Indeed I was right, but I had assumed that the divide would be between those in favor and those opposed. I did not anticipate that people clearly opposed to the terminal would be treated as though they were in favor. And I did not anticipate that organizations and issues would be hijacked in the manner they have.

This post was inspired by the actions of an organization I have been a member of for many years, Washington Conservation Voters (WCV). WCV endorsed me five times during my political era. Washington State Conservation Voters has very badly damaged their reputation with their disregard for the truth on this issue and their willingness to manipulate voters with a campaign of misinformation. 
WCV's bad behavior:


David Hopkinson said...

Thank you, Dan. It could hardly be made more clear. If Dan is re-elected, he will have to live with the lack of integrity he displayed in a desperate use of outright deception in order to win votes. Unfortunately, that will probably bother us more than it bothers him.

Ryan M. Ferris said...

What a weird election on this issue. The politicians who have the least power on this issue are talking about it the most. Those that will have the most power over this issue (County Council) are "prohibited" from talking about it. (Good thing Carl Weimer likes to walk his dog...). What does it matter what Dan Pike has said? Or Kelli Linville for that matter. It does matter what the public and the County Council say and think though...

Dan McShane said...

Excellent points Ryan. I feel te issue has been hijacked and the actual actions that should be taking place haven't. The best thing I have seen thus far is the City Council spelling out a scope they would like to see the County (and now the state) use in the Environmental Impact Statement. Mature smart good governance by the council.