Workshop: writing effective coal terminal scoping letters

The Scoping Process for Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point is now in full swing.

By Chom Greacen

Special to the Islands’ Weekly


The Scoping Process for Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point is now in full swing.

Yes, we, Lopez residents, have concerns about the potential impacts of our surrounding waters becoming one of the world’s leading “highways” to ship coal and tar sands oil to Asia.

But how do we convey our concerns in an effective manner to decision makers? How do we ensure the issues we raise are comprehensive in terms of scope and perspectives?

The workshop on Oct. 24, 5-8 p.m. at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts is specifically planned to address these questions.

You will learn you do not want to just say “I’m concerned about the impact on the herring” as the response will be merely “comment noted.” Instead, it is better, for example, to frame your concerns as questions: “If there is a spill of coal, fuel oil or other toxic chemicals, how will the pacific herring be affected? How about birds and mammals that feed on them? What is the safety of seafood consumption in this area?”

Come to the workshop to learn more tips and put your concerns into action. Experts David Culver and Terry Wechsler of Protect Whatcom will brief about the scoping process and walk us through how to articulate specific concerns. Interactive brainstorming discussions will help you choose which topics/perspectives to include in your letters.

Soup, salad, sandwich, dessert and stationary will be provided to fuel your brains and satisfy your itch to write. RSVP (378-2319 or is not required but appreciated, and so are donations.

You may submit your comments online ( any time before January 21, 2013 or attend the public scoping meeting at Friday Harbor School on Nov. 3, 12-3 p.m.

The workshop is sponsored by Friends of the San Juans and Lopez NO COALition with generous help from Vortex and Lopez Village Market.