When a standing-room-only crowd occurs at a Hoquiam City Council meeting, you know something is in the air. The council sits up and takes notice, especially when most of the people filling the seats are wearing the same kind of t-shirt. The message on the shirts was “Shared Waters, Shared Values.” Whether their first reaction was “Oh, no, here we go again,” or something more unpleasant, I’ve got to say that the reception the citizens received was first class!
The crowd was there to remind the council, staff and mayor that crude oil is not a good fit for our harbor and the people who live and work here. The long awaited, final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS) was to be released on Friday, Sept. 30, so we wanted to make certain that the city was clear that the opinion of more than 60 percent of the Grays Harbor public is, like mine, simply this: Hoquiam should not allow a crude-oil terminal to be built on the banks of Grays Harbor. The city, concerned primarily with the welfare of its citizens, must not issue the permit!
There were many people who lined up at the podium to state their concerns and to ask that a permit be denied. The speakers were from all walks of life — fishermen, teachers, store clerks, grandmothers and more, and every one of them showed clearly their love of this wonderful place in which we all live. And each stated just as clearly their desire that it not be put in jeopardy.
Even though there were many who spoke and we were, in a sense, delaying the start of the official council meeting, not a single person on the council displayed anything other than courtesy to the crowd and what we were saying. We are all good people who are simply looking for a solution to a problem that could bring horrors to our town.
We believe that the long struggle for the right outcome in this crude oil situation is well worth whatever it takes. We hope that you, too, will join the effort to keep Hoquiam, and all of Grays Harbor, safe from crude by rail and an oil terminal by the bay. Send a message to city hall; tell them that you want no permit to be issued. And, while you are at it, thank the mayor for being so frank in her opinion (anti-oil) and for being insistent that we honor the laws and act with civility to all.
From the time the FEIS is released until seven days later, the city cannot issue a permit. After that time, they can issue a shoreline development permit, so please act quickly!