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 - Scott Jones <>
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