The move could give the coal industry a huge economic boost, but the proposal, which has been heavily criticized by residents and Native American tribes. When the publisher of The Rural Blog visited Bellingham last summer, no fewer than three different types of yard signs, apparently from different groups, opposed the port for a variety of community and environmental reasons.
The Whatcom County Council will vote on two permits that need to be passed for the port to begin construction, reports Davenport. What makes it even more difficult for voters is that the council is designated as a "semi-judicial" body, meaning members can't disclose publicly how they will vote on the issue.
There is also fear about tourism and the quality of life for local residents, opines Shannon Wright for the Bellingham Herald. Currently 10 to 12 trains travel by the waterfront at Boulevard Park each day, but the proposal would add another 18 trains per day. Additional trains would lead to closing the only vehicle entrance, as well as closing a trail for bicycles, runners, and pedestrians, she writes. Also, a second train track will be built to be used for trains to idle which would also affect the quality of the area. (Read more)