Oct 2, 2023

Sep 19, 2023

Bellingham WA: Scrap Metal Pile Update - Oh so much to say!

 Short video by Liz Marshall - YouTube March 1, 2023 

Sharing Scott Jones' email message ...

----- Forwarded message ----
From: Save The Waterfront.org - Scott Jones <bellingham@savethewaterfront.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 19, 2023, 3:48 PM
Subject: Scrap Metal Pile Update - Oh so much to say!

Hi Liz,


I'm sorry to say the metal recycling ship is here. A couple days early even.


Along with that bit of news, I have some really important updates for you and some requests.


First, please email me back if you are willing and able to speak at a Council meeting. They are downtown, and the date will be known a few days prior. Even being in the audience is a huge deal, or we can get you bullet points to speak about. Its actually kind of fun!


Over the last couple of weeks, we have come a long way in our understanding of how this came to be, and what we can do about it. There is so much wrong about the processes, actions, loopholes, Bellingham Municipal Code and Washington Administrative Code that was not followed by ABC, the Port of Bellingham, and the City. Our most basic tenets were not followed by leaders to keep residents nor the environment safe. By mistake, or with purpose, it must changed.

A. Certain uses because of their unusual size, infrequent occurrence, special requirements, possible safety hazards or detrimental effects on surrounding properties and other similar reasons, are classified as conditional uses. Chapter 20.16 CONDITIONAL USE REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES


Then there is…

Land Use - 20.04.030 - A. It is the purpose of this title to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Bellingham by coordinating and guiding both public and private development of land by means of a comprehensive land use plan which is, in part, carried out by the provisions of this title. Chapter 20.04.030 – Land Use Development

The Comprehensive Plan – Waterfront Sub-area Plan does not allow for the Metal Pile at the Waterfront.


"A 25 year lease? No one signs a 25 year lease!"-Resident. But that is exactly what the Port quietly did through a consent agenda at a June meeting of the Port Commission. The Mayor did not know and the City Council did not know. The Planning Director did not seem to know. To allow for loopholes in regulations, the lease never states the word 'recycling' outside of its own name, while the word 'scrap' is used 48 times. We looked up the definition of scrap: "valuable recyclable metal". Why?


Now a very expensive local person has been hired by ABC to spin the stories of what a great neighbor ABC Recycling is and how great recycling in general is. Why? Because we haven't found one experience yet that is neighborly, or that which was promised as a working Waterfront. He says a 'few residents' are concerned (over 300 have signed the petition), and 'this is what a working waterfront looks like'. They need to spin and omit information. Because it's a no good rotten deal that we got. You can help fix this!


This morning I calculated the CO2 cost of shipping the metal to India, where one of the last ships went. Just to get there, an equivalent of 8,500 tons of CO2 will be spewed into the air by the diesel freighter. That's more than the Port directly generates all year! If you look into the entire community of Bellingham's CO2 emissions, every ship is 1.1% of our yearly emissions. 9 ships? 10% of the entire community's emissions. It also greatly offsets the benefits of recycling steel. So why do we put up with it?



Could you please 'share' our Facebook posts or page? This is one of the few ways of getting more information out to others. - Or could you forward this email, or write one to a few friends, neighbors, or groups you connect with? Yours, and our view, is pretty unanimous. Some fear social backlash. We are happy to say 'Bellingham is with you' on this. The facts and the back-room dealings are not acceptable!


We are quickly accumulating petitions, but the flow is slowing. If you haven't signed, please do. The stack must be as high as possible as we deliver them to the Mayor, and City Council. They must know that this concern is more than by just a few neighbors. This petition is how we communicate that in mass. Its not enough though, please talk to neighbors and friends.


Our research by some pretty amazing neighbors has found some huge holes in how ABC Recycling came to town, why they are here, and how their activity was accepted by local government. We are working with the Port and the City, but it may take a prod by our attorneys. If you would like to donate to our GoFundMe page to help with these costs, we would greatly appreciate it.


The Ship:

1) When the Air test was done during an earlier ship, strangely, the testing was done south west from all activity. Needless to say most of the tests came back negligible, but if you have spent anytime down at the Portal, Pump Track, Granary, or in the Downtown area, the dust and the smell coming off the metal pile is at times unbearable. The entire area was, by law, to be light industrial. The metal pile is not light industrial.

Have you experienced it? We'd be interested to hear what happened, and we will pass it on to the appropriate staff at the City and the Port, or you can by emailing them directly!


2) With the ship now coming into Port, the crashing metallic noise will continue until as late as 3am. This is illegal under BMC 10.24.120.C4. - Construction and industrial noises, including, but not limited to, motorized construction and equipment operation, hammering, blasting, drilling and sawing in residentially zoned areas, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., which unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of others; -


Layman's terms? If you hear it and you are disturbed after 10pm, the company creating the noise is in violation of Bellingham law. Simple as that. The City though needs your report. Our 911 system has been created to allow for this, and we have been asked by the City to call 911 if this is your experience.


3) Although even the Port's Option to Lease from 2020, states that a Wastewater Permit would be needed by ABC's metal storage activity, until February they were, and we believe they still are in violation of Department of Ecology's requirement for a Wastewater permit keeping the Bellingham Bay safe from heavy metal runoff. Did you know that there are protected Eel Grass Beds below the ship?


4) ABC is planning an Industrial Metal Shredder just South of Bellingham's Birchwood neighborhood. The location is surrounded by hundreds of homes and apartments, schools, daycares, and businesses. Canadian waste and scrap will be shredded, thrown into our land fills with a high risk of hazardous material, and trucked through our neighborhoods with heave metal pollution and VOC's trailing behind.


We don't have to do a cost / benefit analysis to know that a few jobs (and very few Union jobs) does not offset the horrible experience of air and water pollution, night time noise, waste, risk of catastrophic fire, heavy metals and VOC release, while the metal goes over seas and the profits go back to Canada.


Vancouver has a huge port. We can only think of two reasons why ABC recycling is down here. Their Port is too expensive, or their regulations on waste scrap are too restrictive. Neither one is a reason for us to "cede our whole city to become the workyard/wasteyard of ABC Recycling".


This email made me nauseous to write. So many things are wrong, nothing right, and the metal pile is still here with a metal shredder on the horizon. With your help, doing the suggested things above, we will overcome this, mitigate the issue, and move on to enjoy Bellingham as the Waterfront project has promised.


As always, I look forward to hearing from you, and am happy to help in any way we can,

Scott Jones



May 28, 2023

USA: "The majority of Americans recognize the poisoning of wetlands as a major threat."

Downyland March 26, 2020

I've subscribed to Rob Moir's emails for a long time. I recommend listening to him.

---- Forwarded message ----
From: Rob Moir <rob@globalwarmingproblemsolvers.com>
Date: Fri, May 26, 2023, 2:04 PM
Subject: A shameful Supreme Court decision and a threat to clean water


The Supreme Court has again put the interests of corporate polluters over the health and safety of our people and planet.

Their most recent decision has limited the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate wetlands and waterways, dealing yet another blow to the agency's authority in combating pollution.

Washington Post: Supreme Court weakens EPA power to enforce Clean Water Act

The case centered on the interpretation of the Clean Water Act and the definition of "waters of the United States" that fall under its protection.

For decades, the Clean Water Act has prohibited discharging pollutants into all waterways, not just navigable waters but wetlands as well.

The majority opinion argued that the Clean Water Act only applies to wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies of water that are "indistinguishable" from those waters, meaning many wetlands, including all bogs, are now at risk of being contaminated or destroyed.

Wetlands play an important role in climate regulation and carbon mitigation. They store large amounts of carbon in their vegetation and soil, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Wetlands are a nature-based solution to extreme weather events and droughts. During heavy rains, wetlands swell to hold more water like a sponge. Then during droughts, they become an oasis for life, enabling plants to photosynthesize and continue to draw carbon dioxide out of the air and manufacture carbohydrates into biomass and soils.

They are also some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Wetlands support a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are rare or endangered.

Additionally, wetlands play a vital role in maintaining water quality and protecting human health, acting as natural filters for water. They trap and retain sediments, pollutants, and excess nutrients from the surrounding land, preventing them from entering lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.

This Supreme Court decision to remove protection from so many wetlands caves to polluters who care more about profit than the health of local ecosystems. Shame on them.

This is a setback that underscores the point that leaders matter.

That's why Global Warming Solutions is committed to supporting climate champions who understand how carbon and water cycles through ecosystems and fight for environmental protection.

The majority of Americans recognize the poisoning of wetlands as a major threat. We must make known the dire consequences of the Supreme Court's decision and together protect the planet we call home.

More soon,


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Bellingham WA: GOOD NEWS. 5/22/23 Downyland update

May 22, 2023
It's a beautiful sight. The City's ROW below the historic railroad trestle was cleaned of long-standing vagrants' debris on May 19, 2023. I did not witness the cleanup and do not know who cleaned it. One would assume City of Bellingham but I am uninformed. When I visited May 22nd and took these photos, I noticed a happy Robin on the railing representing many pleased creatures. In the distance, a deer who had been browsing earlier, was now staring in the direction of some illegal campers whom I can only hope have been dealt with. There are still sneakers and yoga pants in trees, and the north end is trashed daily, but it is a great moment for this small but vital area to have been freed of human mess.  Maybe the City was only motivated to clean it because the Ski-to-Sea event was coming up. That would be sad if nature is only protected when there are money-making events. Nature is more glorious and indispensable than money.

March 20, 2023
December 2021 photo on left shows bundled stack of new decking that was added to accumulated debris below trestle near Wharf Street. Pieces are still there March 2023. 

City of Bellingham Public Works staff visited March 8th to remove vagrants' debris from the north end of the City R-O-W below the trestle and a small portion of adjacent BNSF private property. They then hydroseeded those spots with grass seed. They erected temporary No Trespassing signs to protect the grass seed. Sneakers, dog waste bag, and spandex clothing are still in tree branches. There was no cleanup of the south end of the trestle ground which has been a toxic, entangling mess unattended to since at least 2021. There's no telling how many creatures have suffered and died from this.


January 2023 Do you see the dog waste bag?

MARCH 6, 2023
Nesting season is well underway and little has been done in the way of protecting the wetland. The City sent workers twice in January but they only picked up a few large items. Toxins and other dangerous debris that has been there two or more years remain. The dog waste and sneakers are still hanging from trees, folding chairs are under the trestle, etc.  It is a comparatively small job to clean up this No Trespassing zone if only the City were inclined to do so.  

11/30/22 This is to update my running log concerning a small but significant wetland area near Bellingham Bay. There are issues pertaining to vegetation and #wildlife that require attention in this rare #greenbelt between the Port of Bellingham and North State Street that I refer to as #Downyland after the #downywoodpeckers who nested in a valuable snag here in 2019. I doubt they will ever return.

Nov 29, 2022

The photo above shows a Nov 16, 2022 view of a bald #eagle perched near the nest used in previous years. It was the first time I saw him/her back since March (photo below is from 3/4/22). I also noticed a #stellarjay on the 16th. I believe the eagle is getting ready for another breeding season. I saw him/her again on 11/26/22. I noticed #woodpeckers, #chickadees, #juncos and #towhees 11/29/22. Sadly - as of Nov 29, 2022 - longstanding debris under the old railroad trestle (pictured below) still has not been cleaned by the City of Bellingham despite numerous pleas for their dutiful protection of #nature. Toxins and solid waste, as well as motor vehicle and #rodenticide (and other "cides") distribution are very serious dangers for most critters in the circle of life. In addition, there is no removal of #noxiousweeds in the area under City of Bellingham jurisdiction. Invasive vines such as #ivy and #clematis as well as other non-natives are left to encroach on and strangle #firs, #cottonwoods, #maples, #alders and other #trees.  

September 11, 2022

Pictured above is private property of the Burlington Northern Railway Company LLC following a cleanup in January 2020. Fortunately, the railroad company cleaned their two private-property wetland parcels of trespassing humans' debris again July 1, 2022. Also fortunately, on August 30, 2022 the City of Bellingham's contractors cleaned the higher stretch nearer E Laurel Street and the small area below the north end of the old trestle (all No Trespassing zones); these are commonly soiled daily by illegal drug users and litterers. The trestle is part of the City's popular, state-supported South Bay Trail and in turn part of the Interurban Trail. It is disappointing that the entire City portion under their trestle never gets cleaned for well over a year. This is despite numerous requests to staff in person, SeeClickFix submittals, via email, and with calls. I have been told it is a low priority.  For wildlife though it is a high priority.  

The photo above shows part of the City's strip of land below their historic trestle near Wharf Street, Bellingham WA on May 28, 2022. 

March 9, 2022 

The eagles are using the nest they built in 2020. I saw one flying over Whatcom Waterway this morning. This photo is from March 4th. I haven't heard from the railway company whether they will pay some attention to this area. I even sent them a photo of a deceased deer who has been there several months. The leaves will burst out very soon and it will be harder to locate the litter etc. than it would be if it had already been done. But it doesn't seem that those in power will maintain or safeguard the property. If they do arrange cleanups after Spring gets further underway it will disturb more birds, rabbits and so on. Many are already tending nests now.

February 17, 2022

I am not sure what the eagles are doing this year. Last year they abandoned their nest but I believe they relocated up the hill a bit and raised young.

Sadly, the whole Critical Area I nicknamed "Downyland" (after the Downy woodpecker) is still largely unprotected and unmaintained. I emailed the railway company in January 2022 requesting cleanup of their portion, but there was no reply. The last time the City of Bellingham sent their contractors there to clean their portion of the buffer was early December 2020. Apparently there was no response to subsequent Encampment Activity Forms. Litter remains from previous years, and is added to daily. In the vegetated area there is even human poo, along with egregious litter. There have been fires in Downyland.

Be careful if you walk there since even on the gravel path it is now impossible to avoid getting dog poo on shoes - the rains/snows soaked it in and spread it around like grout. And it gets added to daily.

A wooden fence (such as the one along a portion of Whatcom Creek)  would be nice. In addition, signs instructing people not to trespass and to specifically comply with many pertinent ordinances, as well as clear delineation of private property seem necessary.

January 18, 2021

This is an update regarding the Critical Areas  between East Laurel Street and Wharf Street some of which is under the jurisdiction of the BNSF Railway (see BNSF) and some under the City of Bellingham. 

A Google album contains the above photo re eagles and three other photos of the wetland showing that debris from vagrants still remains. (There is orange construction fencing along the buffer since December 2020 in connection with the City's ongoing Trestle Repair Project): https://photos.app.goo.gl/reJLxZgut3UzGLJm9

Following is my January 9, 2020 post re the wetland buffer between East Laurel Street and Wharf Street. I saw for the first time last year a pair of American Bald Eagles use the area for nesting and at least two babies fledged. Someone told me there was a third as well. Eagle visits to the nest have been observed this year but I haven't observed whether they are actually nesting. I would think there would be reports on eBird or elsewhere - I just haven't researched. 

After BNSF felled many trunks of trees in the area the day the lockdown started, I wrote to the City and received a reply from a planner saying, "I sent your information on to our complaint folks, and they’re following up." Despite my several inquiries re status, I was never informed of any remedial steps taken regarding the tree removals.

January 9, 2020 

A cleanup of trash in this area was begun yesterday. Part of the property is City-owned (South Bay Trail) and the wetland buffer is property of the international Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF). Cleanup will improve conditions for plants and animals in the drainage which is essentially just yards/meters away from Bellingham Bay on the Washington coast. Cleanup should ameliorate air, land and water pollution.

January 8, 2020 1-1/2 minute view:

Compared to 2017:

From April 2017, 40-second clip of BNSF wetland:

 From April 2017, 3-minute view of a particular deer in sunshine:

Mar 6, 2023

Global: 🐟🐃🌎🏥🆘️ Circular chain of destruction & unsustainable profit explained in13-minute podcast

This podcast provides an excellent synopsis or overview of the circular chain of violence, destruction and profit which results from exploiting nonhumans for consumption and thereby making humans sick and profitable. This all will  factor in to our universal extinction unless there is immediate massive change. Resources are listed on the podcast's page for further information. Please share.