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Anacortes to Tethys: No Deal

Anacortes American, Sept. 28, 2011

Addressed to Mayor Dean Maxwell and the Anacortes City Council

 Anacortes to Tethys: No Deal

There has been a lack of due process and due diligence on the part of Anacortes city government regarding its contract with the Tethys water bottling plant project.

Tethys is a negative proposition for good business in Anacortes. Records of other water bottling plants show that the number of jobs Tethys promises is not reliable. The actual number of jobs will be much lower because of automation. There will be lower salaries and more hazardous duties than Tethys portrays. The contract signed by Anacortes and Tethys does not GUARANTEE the number of jobs and isnot in our city’s best interest. This was a key reason why Everett prohibited the Tethys plant in their city. Why did you and Ryan Larsen fail to act as wisely on behalf of Anacortes? Why were citizen petitions ignored and open meetings prohibited regarding this project, until after the contract was signed?

Four officers of the Tethys Corporation allowed their corporate status to dissolve on March 1, 2011. According to section 9.1.1 of Tethys’ contract with Anacortes, Tethys has failed to meet the scheduled performance date for presenting a site selection plan and proof of their title to a property. Tethys has defaulted in its performance of the agreement. This is a pattern of missing two important deadlines and does not bode well for the company’s future performance or reliability as an Anacortes business partner. For this reason I encourage you to deny their request for an extension of the site selection deadline.

Anacortes needs green jobs and better community and citizen’s rights. Our local government should place the needs of citizens for a clean and sustainable environment ahead of the greed of corporations that ruin the environment and extract our resources. Tethys is an ENVIRONMENTALLY WRONG kind of business for the present and the future. Tethys is taking a resource, precious water, which belongs to all of us (part of  “the commons,” like our air), and Tethys will be selling water in plastic bottles for its own profit. If the local municipalities, by law, cannot profit from the sale of water, why should a corporation be allowed? There are water wars underway in the world right now. Corporations are war profiteers, and want rights to our water for their own profit. What about protecting the rights of Skagit and Island County citizens to keep safe a possibly diminishing local water supply?

Manufacturing bottled water is considered bad environmental policy. Eleven states have plastic bottle ban bills in place. Cities such as Concord, MA and San Francisco have banned all sales of bottled water or plastic bottles and containers that contain BPA–a toxic chemical that makes bottled water LESS healthy than tap water and can cause serious health problems and birth defects. Nine universities throughout the country have banned sale of plastic water bottles including Portland University and our own Seattle University. Students are campaigning to ban plastic containers and bottled water at five other universities such as Cornell and Penn State. Students choose to attend schools that have a commitment to go green and ban plastic water bottles. According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans waste 425 million plastic bottles and other beverage containers each year. Most of them end up in landfills, waterways and along the roads. They are a source of contamination. According to the Journal of Environmental Research Letters, producing bottled water uses 2000 times the energy required to just use tap water. This drives up the size of our carbon footprint, as does the 32-54 MILLION gallons of oil we used to manufacture the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. in 2007. It requires tremendous amounts of energy, petroleum and pollution to make, fill, and ship the bottles.

Finally, the 350-400 railcars moving daily to and from the Skagit Valley (700-800 railcars counting round trips) to ship bottles will cause traffic delays at crossings. The added pollution, noise and congestion to our city and county will not be pretty.

Because Tethys has already failed on two occasions to fulfill its corporate responsibilities and has defaulted regarding its contract with Anacortes, we are within our rights to end this agreement, and I encourage the mayor and city council to do so.

Dr. Karen H. Johnson, Ph.D., Anacortes, Wash.

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