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Around Town

What’s happen’ for Halloween?

Island Scene

Guest Column

Ninja Theater: Kickin’ it

Domestic Violence: a perspective from the trenches; sobering statistics

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The 75¢ Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Vol. 105 Issue 43

of the San Juan Islands

Coal clash fires up US campaign

We’ve got spirit

Matthews knocks Larsen over coal port plan By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor

Journal photo / Scott Rasmussen

Friday Harbor High School’s sophomore class shows off its spirit with a ‘Cowboys and Indians’ float and shouts aplenty at the school’s annual Homecoming Parade, Friday, Oct. 19.

‘Connector Road’ resurfaces Once-promised road would connect Turn Point and Pear Point By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

In San Juan County’s new Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan, the much talked about connector from Pear Point Road across the gravel pit to Turn Point Road is near the bottom of the list. But it was the top subject of discussion at the June 16 joint town-county council meeting at the county Legislative Hearing Room. Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher raised the issue, stating that when the town annexed the “Buck property” as urban growth

area property in 2009, the county promised that the road across the former gravel pit from Pear Point Road to the 46-acre property, which borders on Turn Point Road, would be provided. Showing familiarity with the issue despite his short tenure as interim county administrator, Bob Jean said, “we need a total solution” to road requirements in connection with the property. New town administrator Duncan Wilson added, “This is an important affordable housing project for the town.” The Community Home Trust intends to use about 15 acres of the property to build an affordable housing community of 120, with the remaining 31 acres to be developed into market-price homes by the Buck Family. County Councilman Howie Rosenfeld expressed support for the project, and referred to the Public

Works Department Capital Project Summary for the road. That summary sets the estimated connecting road cost at $1.2 million and says, “The project will need outside grant funding for construction.” Rosenfeld said he had talked with Congressman Rick Larsen about possible federal transportation funds for the road. Larsen told Rosenfeld that Congress might be working on another omnibus transportation funding bill in 2013, but that any project needing funding “must be shovel ready.” “We need a road design and planning approval,” said Rosenfeld. Jean, who earlier had said, “We need a total solution for this whole project,” added that “shovel ready might cost about $100,000.” The connector road is on the See Road, Page 4

With results of a full-blown environmental review yet to come, it could be months before a verdict is handed down on the giant export facility proposed to be built at Cherry Point, just north of Bellingham. Longer still before any potential construction might begin, and even longer before any super-sized cargo ship passes through the Salish Sea bound for Asian markets with that would-be export facility’s first shipment of raw coal. But with just two weeks left before the Nov. 6 election, the controversial Gateway Terminal Project emerged last week as a campaign issue in the race for Wa s h i n g t o n state’s 2nd Congressional seat, in which Republican challenger Don Matthews Rick Larsen is attempting to unseat Democrat Rep. Rick Larsen, a six-term incumbent. “(Larsen) has refused to offer any constructive suggestions about the terminal and refused to listen to the worries of citizens who will be affected by it,” Matthews said last week in a widely distributed press release. “He simply encourages citizens to ‘get involved’ by attending public scoping meetings regarding the project instead of showing real leadership and guiding this issue toward a workable resolution.” If approved and then built,

2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association

the $650 million Gateway Terminal would be the largest bulk export facility on the West Coast, perhaps in the nation. At full capacDan Matthews ity, it would be capable of storing and exporting up to 54 million metric tons of coal per year. The coal would be transported from Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin by rail, with as many as 18 coal trains, each more than a mile long, circulating daily through the facility. On the export side, the coal See Campaign, Page 4

Journal of the San Juans, October 24, 2012  

October 24, 2012 edition of the Journal of the San Juans

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