Mount Baker: Whatcom • Skagit • SanJuan

Contact the Group
email:

MtBaker@washington.sierraclub.org

Group Events Calendar
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OFFICERS

Chair: Judith Akins

Vice-Chair: Stan Parker

Secretary: Nora Weaver

Treasurer: Natalie McClendon

Mentor for Committees: Bob Aegerter

NEXT BUSINESS MEETING

Monday February 8, 6:30-8:30 pm, 4682 Wynn Road, Bellingham. All members are welcome to attend and participate in the meeting. Call Chair Judith Akins at 360-982-8599 with questions.

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NEWS FROM THE CHAIR
Judith Akins, Chair

Happy New Year and thank you for all you did for Sierra Club in 2015 your time, talents and treasure are much appreciated.

2016 and time to renew our commitments to the environment and ourselves. It was as so wonderful to see so many new faces at our December get together and now it's my challenge to keep the momentum going.

During the past year the Mt Baker Group of the Sierra Club has been involved in The "Blue/Green Waterfront Coalition". This coalition is vested in seeing the new Bellingham waterfront bring in good paying jobs, waterfront businesses, and a clean environment. The committee which includes Labor leaders, Re-Sources, and Sierra Club will be holding forums to educate the public on the issues and urges the public to follow the Port Commission meetings. It is also critical that the waterfront cleanup be funded which is in jeopardy because of underfunding of MTCA (Model Toxics Control Act). We will be following this in depth in next months issue: email Judith Akins : sunsetjam@gmail.com for more information.

The SC is committed to protecting our environment and blocking oil transports and TPP is the top of our priority list. Please see below for getting involved and saving the planet.

Our Group also welcomed Jason Mark, Editor of Sierra Magazine and author of "Satellites in the High Country", who visited Village Books on January 5. If you haven't read through the latest edition of The Sierra, please catch up. I am definitely booking an adventure for 2016! I love the upclose personal stories that the magazine is now offering.

Mt Baker Group hike Friday, March 18 / Mt Erie, Anacortes
Enjoy wonderful views of Puget Sound and San Juan Islands, 5 miles round trip with 1300 ft elevation gain. Come join us for the an educational and heart awakening day. Contact Judith Akins email: sunsetjam@gmail.com or 360-982-8599

Whatcom Co. Comprehensive Plan Update Moves to County Council
Whatcom County Council will hold a public hearing, January 26th at 7 pm in the County Council Chambers, 311 Grand Ave., Bellingham, to kick off their review of the County's Complrehensive Plan Update. The County's Planning Commission spent 2015 reviewing and amending it, and now the Council has until June to amend and adopt the plan. Here are the final amended versions of each chapter.

We would like residents of Whatcom to be present or speak in favor of protecting our environment. Specifically, we can ask that they honor the Lummi request to prohibit the shipment of coal and oil from any new or existing terminal at Cherry Point. If you wear red it will show that are are part of a greater coalition against fossil fuel expansion. Re-Sources is holding a workshop on these issues Monday, January 25th , 6 pm at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St., Bellingham.

With the lifting of the federal ban on the export of crude oil, interest in oil exporting from the west coast will heat up. Learn more about it:  What the NW Needs To Know About The Crude Oil Export Ban Lift

EVERY KID IN A PARK!
To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, the White House, in partnership with the Federal Land Management agencies, launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative. The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their federal public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year. Beginning September 1, 2015, all kids in the fourth grade have access to their own Every Kid in a Park pass at https://www.everykidinapark.gov/ This pass provides free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!

PSE/COLSTRIP Update
Do you want dirty coal in Washington's future? Or do you want a clean energy future? You have the chance to influence that choice right now!

On December 1, PSE submitted a long-range energy plan to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission that outlines how it will meet expected energy needs over the next 10 to 20 years -- and that should not include the dirty, dangerous, and increasingly expensive Colstrip coal plant!

We need you to act NOW. Tell the Commission to require that PSE's long-range proposal address a retirement plan for Colstrip.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is the single largest owner of the dirty, aging Colstrip coal plant in Montana. State regulators have repeatedly asked PSE to come up with a detailed plan on how they are going to address the true cost of their coal problem and move beyond coal to clean energy. PSE refuses. It's time for action--not more delay!

Your commitment to a clean energy revolution will bring us victory. It's time for Washington to move beyond coal to clean and renewable energy!  For more background and the  politics of this issue read "Colstrip owners write bills putting plant’s future in doubt."

North Fork Nooksack-area roads proposed permanently closed

The North Fork Nooksack Access and Travel Management project has evaluated roads within the Upper North Fork Nooksack River Watershed and come up with a list of roads to retain and roads that are no longer needed and are proposing to "de-commission" them..

A 30 day public comment period will start the first week of February to gather feedback on the Environmental Assessment. Public meetings will be held on Monday, February 8 from 6-8pm at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center, 8251 Kendall Rd, Maple Falls, WA 98266 and on Thursday, February 11, from 6:30-8:30pm at the Bellingham Public Library.

Congress will be voting on the TPP soon

Neither Congresswomen Suzan DelBene nor Congressman Rick Larsen has said how they will vote. Contact them NOW and urge them to vote NO!  Here's why:

  • Extreme Secrecy. The TPP negotiations took place in extreme secrecy. Still no drafts of TPP texts have been released. And public input has been drowned out by dominant corporate input; more than 600 corporate advisors have actively worked to shape the agreement while the public is being kept in the dark.
  • Threat to Forests, Wildlife, and Fish. While the TPP environment chapter should set strong and binding rules to address conservation challenges like illegal timber and wildlife trade, its rules will likely be too weak to have an impact on the ground and are unlikely to be enforced, rendering the chapter essentially meaningless. Read more here. http://www.sierraclub.org/compass/2015/05/far-progressive-trade-deal-trans-pacific-partnership-would-harm-our-environment
  • Unfettered Rights to Corporations. The TPP will include provisions that give corporations the right to sue a government for unlimited cash compensation -- in private and non-transparent tribunals -- over nearly any law or policy that a corporation alleges will reduce its profits. Using similar rules in other free trade agreements, corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Dow Chemical have launched over 600 cases against more than 100 governments. Dozens of cases attack common-sense environmental laws and regulations, such as regulations to protect communities and the environment from harmful chemicals or mining practices. Read more here about how harmful investment rules included in other trade pacts have led to the attack of climate and environmental policies. https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/uploads-wysiwig/Investor-State-Climate-FINAL.pdf
  • Increase in Dirty Fracking. The TPP may allow for significantly increased exports of liquefied natural gas without the careful study or adequate protections necessary to safeguard the American public. This would mean an increase of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the dirty and violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations. It would also likely cause an increase in natural gas and electricity prices, impacting consumers, manufacturers, workers, and increasing the use of dirty coal power. Read our factsheet on the TPP and natural gas exports here! https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/uploads-wysiwig/TPP-LNG_Factsheet_Updated.pdf
 
Our Voices From Paris
Thursday, Jan, 28, 7 PM Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St, Bellingham
Many activists from our area participated in the events surrounding the Paris conference and are now gathering to begin telling their stories.  Join them for an evening of glimpses into the many facets of Climate Change and Climate Justice, with promises of coming days of sharing the deeper stories and brighter dreams for the future and the unity in action that will get us there. Slated to share their experiences include: Fred Lane (Lummi Nation), Jill McIntyre Witt (CLimate Reality Project), Edgar Franks (Community to Community), Lummi Canoe Youth, Eddy Ury (RE Sources), Nicole Brown (WWU), Seth Fleetwood and more.