Bottle the Skagit?

Contact: jim justice

Thurs., March 22, 2012 , 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First St., Mount Vernon, Washington

Skagit Human Rights Festival – Whose Valley is it Anyway?

Defending Water

In the spirit of assembly and free speech, Sandra Spargo of Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin will present the film TAPPED and relate the film to the contract that the City of Anacortes signed with Tethys Enterprises to build a one million square foot bottled water/beverage plant. The plant will be entitled up to five million gallons of Skagit River water per day. TAPPED examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on pollution, health and oil reliance. Water is a human right and should not be bottled and sold as a commodity to the highest bidder, like any other article of commerce. Presentation sponsors are The Alliance for Democracy, the Concrete Herald and Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin.

Listen to KSVR Radio’s interview of Kay O’Connell and Sandra Spargo about this March 22 event at Interview length is 13 minutes, followed by an interview regarding Labor, the last Human Rights Festival event on Thurs., March 29, 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre.

Connections Found between East-West Highway, Canadian Fracking Fields, and Searsport LPG Tank

MAINE COMPASS: Is the east-west highway a plan to exploit Maine for energy triad?

Chris Buchanan, published 3-12-12 in the Morning Sentinel

Canada is developing natural gas fracking fields in Quebec and New Brunswick, and a liquid petroleum gas tank is proposed for Searsport.

We are concerned about whether the proposed east-west highway might be destined to become a supercorridor to transport LPG in trucks to Canada and natural gas by pipeline along the highway to the Maritime provinces for export.

The east-west highway route through Maine connects both the Canadian fracking fields adjacent to Maine, so it could be highly profitable for the investors in the east-west highway to run a natural gas pipeline along the highway. This would provide even greater returns for highway investors, in addition to tolls they would receive from Canadian transport trucks.

The proposed Searsport LPG storage facility comes into the picture because of new fracking technology developed by GasFrac, a Canadian energy company, which uses a thick gel made from propane, rather than water, to force the natural gas out of the shale rock.

LPG is a mixture of propane and butane.

“This is a game changer for the industry,” says Don LeBlanc in a November 15 article in Chemistry World. LeBlanc is the “principal consultant at Eastex Petroleum Consultants in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who has been involved in shale gas trials with gelled propane in New Brunswick.”

So far gelled propane has been used about 1,000 times, mostly in Canada.

From an investor’s prospective, under this scenario, an LPG tank in Searsport is a great idea. From there, the propane can be trucked to Canada via the east-west highway to use for fracking shale gas. Then the natural gas produced by the fracking could be transported to the Canadian Maritimes via a pipeline built along the east-west highway.

Indeed, Peter Vigue of Cianbro announced his vision to use the highway as a multiuse corridor during his presentation to the Maine Legislature’s Transportation Committee during the public hearing on Valentine’s Day.

This larger energy scheme would benefit private investors, but lead to further exploitation of Maine as a supercorridor throughway with only two proposed exits for the whole state.

Yet the people of Maine would have no voice in how this private toll road was built or managed.

Nor would the state and federal regulatory agencies be concerned about the environmental impacts of fracking or the safety of the new technology using highly flammable propane.

This is a highly organized energy triad, poised to make a few people very wealthy at the cost of Maine’s people and the land we need to survive.

We wondered why Searsport selectmen supported the east-west highway, but now we see how the pieces can fit together in a highly profitable way.

Instead of locking Mainers into a supercorridor dissecting the state for foreign profit, our legislators need to step back and identify what the people of Maine need to thrive over the long haul.

Giving priorities to Canadian businesses and multinational corporations that do raw resource extraction is not the way. Public funding for private investment, at the added cost of individual rights and local control, is not the way.

We need to create a long-term vision that values Maine’s strengths — how we can benefit from our priceless ecological beauty and how best to use Mainers creativity, work ethic and passion to create lasting jobs for the people and families of Maine.

Chris Buchanan of Belgrade is a grassroots organizer for Defending Water for Life in Maine, a project of the Alliance for Democracy to protect water for life, not for profit, by supporting community-led initiatives. Visit www.defend

link to article:


Passamaquoddy moving ahead to build Bottling Plant

DW4L was alarmed to find out that the Passamaquoddy Tribal Leaders have returned to the idea to tap one of the largest aquifers in Maine, and build a bottling plant.  Under the guise of creating jobs, the Tribe now faces even more exploitation, if they give up the rights to their water.  In addition, the proposed plant is located dangerously close to the proposed East-West highway, ensuring exploitation by the global market.

Link to TV news report:

INDIAN TOWNSHIP, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A team of geologists has made a discovery that could create 150 jobs in Washington County: a 1,000 acre aquifer with 22 untapped, bubbling springs.

The aquifer is on the Passamaquoddy Tribe’s land in Indian Township.

Tribal leaders are hoping to tap into that aquifer to manufacture Passamaquoddy Blue bottled water.

Geologists with A.E. Hodsdon Engineering said the aquifer has so much water, the tribe could tap 1 million gallons a day.

“We can probably take out 10 times that amount volume,” said Al Hodsdon.

“But you couldn’t bottle that much water, that’s a lot of water,” he said.

Hodsdon has called it the “Saudi Arabia” of fresh ground water, and said test results qualify the water as “above excellent.”

Members of the tribe said they have always known about the natural resource, but never knew how much water sat below the ground.

After consulting with Hodsdon and a developer, Mike Dugay, the tribe is moving foward with plans to develop the plant and manufacture the water.

Economic development consultant Harold Claussey, Director of the Sunrise County Economic Council, has forecasted that the plant would create between 60 and 80 direct jobs, and 80 indirect jobs.

“This is something that we’re really hoping becomes a reality,” said Indian Township Economic Development Director Ernie Neptune.

The Passamaquoddy Tribe reports an unemployment rate of 65 percent.

“With a 60 plus unemployment rate in this area, it’s going to be a blessing,” said Neptune.

It’s the poorest part of the poorest county, where surrounding Washington County towns report unemployment rates as high as percent.

But there is a sense of cautious optimism surrounding this project.

“I think a lot of people want to see it before they believe it,” said Passamaquoddy Karen Sabattis.

In the last decade, the tribe has attempted several projects to create jobs and boost the local economy: a natural gas line terminal, a racino, and a lumber company.

All three projects failed.

But project developers, geologists, and tribal government leaders think it’s going to be different this time around.

“So you’ve got great quality, great quantities, and great opportunity for Washington County, and certainly for the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Indian Township,” said Dugay.

The tribe needs to secure $22 million in funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs before they can build the bottling plant.

If that funding comes through, the tribe hopes to have the plant up and running by 2013.

Grand Canyon Banning Plastic Water Bottle Sales

Feb. 6, 2012

Associated Press
Disposable plastic water bottles soon won’t be sold at the Grand Canyon.
The National Park Service announced Monday that it has approved a plan to eliminate the sale of the bottles within 30 days. The bottles make up about 20 percent of the Park’s waste and 30 percent of recyclables. Visitors can fill up reusable containers at water stations, though the ban does not keep them from bringing disposable bottles into the park.
Park Service Director Jon Jarvis had nixed a bottled ban at the Grand Canyon in late 2010. A former park superintendent had raised suspicion that the Coca-Cola Company, a major water bottle producer, unduly influenced the Park Service. But the agency and Coca-Cola denied that.
Jarvis recently released a national policy outlining how park superintendents could institute a ban.

Whose Valley is it Anyway?

The 9th Annual Skagit Human Rights Festival
March 2012
Whose Valley is it Anyway? 
Corporate Power or Community Power?
March is Human Rights Month in Skagit County, and the Skagit Human Rights Festival has some great events planned to put relevant conversations on the community table.
  • Lee Mann Exhibition–Art opening, Thurs., March 1, 5 p.m, Skagit Valley College multipurpose room. Letters and photos of longtime Skagit Valley human rights advocate Lee Mann on display. His son, Bryce Mann, to make the presentation.
  • Human Rights Display, Fri., March 2, 5-7 p.m., Lincoln Theatre Art Bar, downtown Mount Vernon. Skagit art pieces will relate to corporations, civil liberties, water and labor. Artists Richard Olmsted, Thais Armstrong, Sue Wren, Jessica Gigot and Kerry Scott.
  • Corporations and the Rise of Occupy, Thur., March 8, 7 p.m., Phillip Tarro Theatre, Skagit Valley College. Movie showing of Inside Job about the U. S. financial crisis followed by a corporate personhood Q&A panel session. Panel members involved with the Northwest Occupy Movement.
  • Civil Liberties and E-Verify, Thurs., March 15, 7 p.m., Phillip Tarro Theatre, Skagit Valley College. Lt. Col. Margaret Stock (ret.), political science instructor and award winning lawyer from Alaska, explains how the E-Verify national database will impact all of us–not only undocumented immigrants.
  • Defending Water, Thurs., March 22, 7 p.m., Lincoln Theatre, downtown Mount Vernon. Sandra Spargo, Alliance for Democracy, will show the movie TAPPED about the bottled water industry and will discuss the Anacortes contract to build a bottled water/beverage & food manufacturing plant entitled to five million gallons of water per day.
  • Labor, Thurs., March 29, 7 p.m., Lincoln Theatre, downtown Mount Vernon. Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, and young labor activists will describe how unions champion the rights of all workers and will show two short movies: Eyes on the Fries and We Are the ILWU.
Visit for a complete list of event details.

Grand Canyon banning sales of bottled water

By Miguel Llanos,

Activists concerned that Coca-Cola might be influencing National Park Service policy were breathing a bit easier Tuesday after the Grand Canyon National Park announced it would eliminate the sale of bottled water inside the park within 30 days.

full story here:

Bottled Water Banished at University of Vermont

Vending machines to feature ‘healthy choices’

By Lauren Drasler, Assistant New Editor | The Vermont Cynic | Thursday, February 2, 2012

The sale of bottled water on campus will end Jan. 1, 2013, makingUVM one of the first institutions nationwide to pass this type of sustainable beverage policy, according to University Communications.

UVM will remove bottled water from its 57 vending machines and in retail outlets as well asmandate that one-third of the drinks in vending machines be healthy choices,University Communications stated.

Though the administration made this decision, Director for the Office of Sustainability Gioia Thompson said that student groups such as Vermont Student Environmental Program (VSTEP) really led the way.

“In 2010 and 2011, Mikayla McDonald and Marlee Baron each served as both VSTEP president and SGA senator,” Thompson said.  “They were key in connecting with SGA committees and leaders, who responded with resolutions.”

Thompson said that UVM’s campus has 200 water fountains that can easily be retrofitted with water bottle filling stations like the ones in the Davis Center for about $300 each.

“Other fountains will need to be replaced, costing in the thousands,” she said. “There may be some new fountain locations requiring new plumbing, as is the case in the Waterman building’s recent fountain upgrade.”

Vice President of Finance and Administration Richard Cate estimates that the cost of updating and replacing water fountains throughout campus will be about $100,000.

“This action is not likely to save the University any money, but hopefully students will save

money by having better access to chilled drinking water for which they do not have to pay,” he


The Coca-Cola contract, which gives the company exclusive pouring rights at the University and is set to expire in June, generates $482,000 in revenue for UVM, Cate said.  Of that revenue, some is used to directly benefit students.

“$157,000 of the $482,000 from the current contract goes to student financial aid,” he said.

Cate confirmed that revenue from the new contracts will also be directed toward student aid.

President of VSTEP Greg Francese said that his club has worked directly with the Office of Sustainability and student organizations in order to educate the community about environmental issues such as the impact of bottled water.

Francese said that VSTEP’s main goal for the past five years has been to ban the sale of bottled water, with campaigns such as Bring Your Own Bottle days, in which students are encouraged to not buy bottled water for one day.

“We wanted people to think about why they’re purchasing bottled water,” he said. “The way we’ve done that is basically just by educating people about why you can get virtually the same product for free out of a water fountain.”

Though the decision to end sales of bottled water on campus is finally official, Francese said the news has not sunk in yet.

“It feels surreal, I guess it hasn’t really hit me yet,” he said. “There’s been a lot of congratulatory emails, and I got interviewed by one of the local news stations, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s happening.

“When it happens it will be great,” he said.

Former VSTEP president Mikayla McDonald said that she is very supportive of UVM’s decision to let the Coke contract expire and to remove the sale of bottled water from campus.

“UVM has shown great leadership with this action and will undoubtedly motivate students in other American colleges and universities to take similar initiatives,” she said.

McDonald said she has a variety of issues with the bottled water industry.

“Single-serving, plastic-packaged bottled water is one of those products which has a 100 percent manufactured demand,” she said. “That means that there was essentially no need or want for it until bottled water companies started spending billions of dollars on advertising.”

These advertising campaigns have successfully convinced many Americans that municipal tap water is dirty and dangerous while bottled water is cleaner and healthier, McDonald said. In fact, the opposite is true.

Many students said they agree with the University’s decision to stop selling bottled water.

“I think it’s awesome,” senior Audrey Stout said.  “We don’t need any more plastic, so I’m all for this idea.”

Other students agreed that bottled water is a waste.

“There is plenty of opportunity to get free water from the fountains, and reusable water bottles are always being given away here,” sophomore Isaiah Cory said.

Though most students said they supported the administration’s decision, others said they didn’t like the idea of completely banning water bottle sales.

“Anytime there is a ban it’s an infringement,” senior Ben Zabriskie said.  “If the University put a $1 tariff on bottled water, then that money could be used to support conservation instead of completely banning bottled water sales.”

Bellingham, WA Rights-Based Ordinance Proposed to Stop Coal Trains

by: Coal Free Bellingham Posted on: January 27, 2012

Editor’s Note: Bellingham has taken the first step in following the example of towns and municipalities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who have recently explicitly asserted their rights as autonomous communities. Pittsburgh has outlawed all Hydraulic Fracturingpractices within its city limits. With support by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, No Coal!, a Bellingham citizen-led political action committee has introduced an ordinance to the City of Bellingham that would make coal transport a legal nuisance and prohibit the transportation of coal through Bellingham’s city limits, which would essentially paralyze the proposed Cherry Point Coal terminal. The ordinance technically violates theCommerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which leaves issues of interstate commerce—like coal trains—to the federal government, not local communities. For more on why No Coal! believes the City of Bellingham, and all communities need rights-based ordinances click here.

The Ordinance: Proposal for a Bellingham Community Bill of Rights to be adopted by citizens’ initiative

Whereas, in America we have a tradition of deciding for ourselves – and for our children;

Whereas, the residents of the City of Bellingham possess the inherent and inalienable  right to govern their own community, on the basis, without limitation, of the statement within the Declaration of Independence’s that governments are instituted to secure the rights of people, and of the Washington Constitution’s recognition that ―All political power is inherent in the people;

Whereas, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Whereas, the assertion of constitutional rights, including civil rights, by the legal constructions known as Corporations has fundamentally unbalanced our system of government, and the people of Bellingham desire to restore a balanced and democratic system of government;

Whereas, the use of coal for energy production has furthered global climate change, with that climate change threatening the very survival of human and natural communities;

Whereas, the State of Washington has acknowledged the threat from the use of coal, and therefore decided last year to adopt the Coal-Free Future for Washington legislation which will close the last remaining coal-burning power plant in Washington State;

Whereas, the State of Washington and the United States hold a public trust from the people of the State of Washington and the people of the United States under which they are obliged to protect the climate of the State of Washington and of the United States from climate change, and the State of Washington and the United States have failed to act in accordance with the public trust, and the people of Bellingham find it necessary to act on their own behalf;

Whereas, the people of Bellingham find it necessary to reduce the progress of climate change by creating a new structure of law, which recognizes that the residents and ecosystems of Bellingham have the right to a healthy, natural climate unaltered by the transporting, handling and burning of coal, and which recognizes the rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish;

Whereas, that new structure of law is embodied in this ordinance, which recognizes a Bill of Rights for the residents and ecosystems of Bellingham, and which bans activities related to the transportation of coal through the municipality as a violation of those rights;

Whereas, existing concepts of law such as nuisance and toxic trespass may be expanded to support the right of the people of Bellingham to protect themselves from activities related to the transportation of coal through the municipality;

Whereas, since Corporations engaged in the extraction, distribution, and use of coal routinely use corporate ”powers” and ”rights” to overturn community lawmaking focused on building sustainability, this ordinance removes legal “powers” and “rights” from those Corporations to ensure that the powers and rights of the community are superior to the “powers” and “rights” claimed by those Corporations;

Whereas, certain distant corporate operators desire to mine coal in massive quantities in Wyoming and Montana, to transport such coal by rail from east to west across Washington State, from south to north in Western Washington, and through the center of the City of Bellingham, to build an ecologically destructive coal port at Cherry Point just north of Bellingham, to transport such coal in massive freighters across Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean to Asia, where it will be burned in power plants, increasing the rate of global climate change (all the foregoing being referred to as the “Proposed Corporate Coal Project”);

Whereas, the Proposed Corporate Coal Project will cut off the city from its waterfront, impeding plans for development and for opening the waterfront for public enjoyment, and cutting out the resulting jobs;

Whereas, the adoption of this ordinance by the people of Bellingham is a necessary first step, but is insufficient by itself either to stop the coal trains on all their possible routes or the coal port or to bring about the structural legal changes that are necessary and the people of Bellingham stand ready to collaborate with the people of Whatcom County and Washington State and beyond in order to obtain these ends;

Now, therefore, the people of the City of Bellingham hereby adopt this Ordinance, which shall be known and may be cited as “The Bellingham Community Bill of Rights.”

Section 1Findings and Intent

The people of Bellingham believe that the protection of human and natural communities from environmental threats constitutes the highest and best use of the police powers that this municipality possesses. We also believe that local legislation that embodies the interests of the community is mandated by the doctrine of the consent of the governed and the right to local, community self-government.  Thus, we hereby adopt this ordinance, which establishes a Bill of Rights for the residents, natural communities and ecosystems of the City, bans activities related to the transportation of coal within the City, and nullifies state and federal laws, constitutional provisions, permits, and other authorizations which interfere with the rights secured by this ordinance.

The people of Bellingham recognize that a healthy, natural climate – and environmental and economic sustainability – cannot be achieved if the rights of municipal majorities are routinely overridden by corporate minorities claiming “powers” and “rights”.  The people of Bellingham also recognize that sustainability cannot be achieved within a system of preemption which enables those corporate decision-makers to wield state and federal governmental power to override local self-government, and which restricts municipalities only to that lawmaking specifically authorized by state government.

The people of Bellingham are unwilling to accept an economic system in which  communities, people and eco-systems bear the massive costs of corporate operations in the social, ecological and economic spheres, and in which such a system is supported by the existing structure of law. Conventional economic ideology that characterizes these costs as “externalities,” and then proceeds to ignore them, is inadequate for the needs of society and for ecosystems.

The people of Bellingham find that the harms arising from the Proposed Corporate Coal Project are numerous and affect every sphere of life. Among them are:

1) Reduced access to the Bellingham waterfront, to the waterfront at the proposed coal             port and to the waterfront everywhere where the trains will run along the shore

2) Destruction of the peace of the parks along the waterfront, including Zuanich Park,             Boulevard Park, Port of Bellingham Marine Park, Teddy Bear Cove, and Larrabee             State Park.

3) Not being able to proceed with the community’s vision for waterfront redevelopment             (most especially of the Georgia Pacific site, now largely empty, and on the other             side of the tracks from downtown Bellingham

4) Not being able to preserve the beauty of the waterfront

5) Not being able to use existing rail facilities for other valuable uses, e.g. passenger trains.

6) Noise

7) Pollution of air, land and water from coal dust and freighter diesel exhaust

8] Heath threats, including without limitation

  • a) Impaired pulmonary development in adolescents;
  • b) Increased cardiopulmonary mortality and all-cause mortality;
  • c) Measurable pulmonary inflammation;
  • d) Increased severity and frequency of asthma attacks, ER visits, and hospital admissions in children;
  • e) Increased rates of myocardial heart attacks in adults;
  • f) Increased risk of cancer;
  • g) Increased risk of chronic bronchitis;
  • h) Increased risk of emphysema;
  • i) Increased risk of pulmonary fibrosis; and
  • j) Environmental contamination through the leaching of toxic heavy metals; all as             documented by Whatcom Docs.

9) Interruption of ambulances, fire trucks and police

10) Interruptions for people and local businesses

11) Loss of opportunity for local businesses

12) Safety threats

13) Threats to wildlife

14) Loss of property values near the tracks

15) Ecological harm to air, land and water in the vicinity of the proposed port at Cherry             Point

16) Harm to the fisheries in the vicinity of Cherry Point

17) Species extinction

18) Multifarious harm to the communities in the vicinity of Cherry Point, such as Birch             Bay, Custer, Ferndale, the Lummi Nation, and Blaine

19) Ecological harm in Puget Sound

20) Safety threats from increasingly dense freighter traffic in Puget Sound and from             increasingly large freighters

21) Ocean acidification

22) Furthering global climate change through the burning of the coal in Asia, which will             cause health and other impacts to the residents and ecosystems of the City of             Bellingham and around the world.

The people of Bellingham find that global climate change poses a significant threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the human and natural communities within the City, and that  those communities possess a right to a healthy, natural climate unaltered by coal emissions, and that certain proposed corporate activities violate that right.

The people of Bellingham recognize that merely regulating activities related to the transportation of coal through the City enables and legalizes these harms to occur, thus violating the rights of residents and natural communities.

Section 2Definitions

(a) “City” and “Bellingham” mean the City of Bellingham, a Washington municipal


(b) “Coal” shall mean any combustible sedimentary rock.

(c) “Corporation(s)” for purposes of this ordinance, shall include any corporation,             limited partnership, limited liability partnership, business trust, or limited liability             company organized for profit under the laws of any state of the United States or             under the laws of any country, and any other for-profit entity that possesses state             conferred limited liability attributes for its owners, directors, officers, and/or             managers.

Section 3—Statements of Law—Rights of Bellingham Residents and the Natural


(a) People as Sovereign. The municipal corporation known as the City of Bellingham shall  be the governing authority responsible to, and governed by, the residents of the City. Use of the City of Bellingham municipal corporation by the sovereign people of Bellingham to make law shall not be construed to limit or surrender the sovereign authority or immunities of the people to a municipal corporation that is subordinate to them in all respects at all times. The people at all times enjoy and retain an inalienable and indefeasible right to self-governance in the community where they reside.

(b) Right to Self-Government. All residents of the City of Bellingham possess the             fundamental and inalienable right to a form of governance where they live which             recognizes that all power is inherent in the people, that all free governments are            founded on the people’s authority and consent, and that corporate entities and their             directors and managers shall not enjoy special privileges or powers under the law            which make community majorities subordinate to them.

(c) Rights of Natural Communities. Natural communities and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, flora, fauna, the atmosphere, soils, wetlands, bays, streams, rivers, aquifers, and other water systems, possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist and flourish within the City of Bellingham. Residents of the City of Bellingham, acting individually or collectively, or the City itself, or the City acting together with one or more residents, shall possess legal standing to enforce those rights on behalf of those natural communities and ecosystems.

(d) Right to a Sustainable Energy Future. All residents, natural communities, and ecosystems in the City of Bellingham possess a right to a sustainable energy future and a right to adopt laws and policies to secure this future. That right shall include the authority to require the development, production, and use of energy from renewable fuel sources.

(e) Right to Climate. All residents, natural communities and ecosystems in the City of Bellingham possess a fundamental and inalienable right to a healthy, natural climate.

(f) Rights as Self-Executing. All rights delineated and secured by this ordinance shall be self-executing and these rights shall be enforceable against Corporations, in addition to governmental and other public entities.

Section 4—Statements of Law  Prohibitions Necessary to Secure Bill of Rights’ Protections

a) It shall be unlawful for any Corporation to engage in the transportation of coal through the City of Bellingham, whether by road or railway.  For purposes of this Section 4, a Corporation will be considered to be “engaged in the transportation of coal” if it transports coal through Bellingham, or if it owns coal being transported through Bellingham.

b) Corporations in violation of the prohibition against engaging in coal transportation or seeking to engage in actions that would violate such prohibition shall be deemed not to possess rights as legal “persons” under the United States and Washington             Constitutions, and shall not be deemed to possess any other constitutional rights.

c) Corporations engaged in the transportation of coal through the City of Bellingham shall not possess the authority or power to enforce State or federal preemptive law against the people of the City of Bellingham or to challenge or overturn municipal ordinances, when that enforcement or challenge interferes with the rights asserted by this ordinance or interferes with the authority of the municipality to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents.

d) No permit, license, privilege or charter issued by any instrumentality of a state or the federal government or any international body, any commission, or any municipality to any person or any Corporation, or any director, officer, owner, or manager of a Corporation, which would violate the prohibitions of this Ordinance or deprive any Bellingham resident(s), natural community, or ecosystem of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by this Ordinance, the Washington Constitution, the United States Constitution, or other laws, shall be deemed valid within the City of Bellingham.

Section 5Enforcement

(a) The City of Bellingham may enforce this Ordinance through an action for damages and/or in equity brought in a court of competent jurisdiction. In such an action, the City shall be entitled to recover all costs of litigation, including, without limitation, expert and attorney’s fees.

(b) Any resident or residents of the City of Bellingham shall have the authority to enforce this Ordinance through an action for damages and/or in equity brought in a court of competent jurisdiction. In such an action, the resident shall be entitled to recover all costs of litigation, including, without limitation, expert and attorney’s fees.

(c) Any action brought to remedy the violation of the rights of natural communities or ecosystems shall list the natural community or ecosystem as a plaintiff in the action, damages sought must bear a relationship to the damage inflicted upon the natural community or ecosystem, and awarded damages must be payable to the municipality for the restricted use of repairing the natural community or ecosystem.

(d) Right to Know. Any corporation planning to engage in activities that may be prohibited by this ordinance shall disclose those activities to the City of Bellingham at least sixty (60) days prior to engaging in those activities. That disclosure, which shall be provided in writing to the City of Bellingham, shall explain why the proposed activities do not violate the provisions of this ordinance. Upon written request of a resident or residents or of the City, any corporation engaging in one or more of the activities described in Section 4 a) will disclose such information concerning such activities as such written request shall have specified, such disclosure to occur within 30 days of the date of the request. For purposes of this Section 5 d), “resident” includes a non-profit corporation controlled by one or more human residents of the City.

Section 6Effective Date and Existing Permitholders

This Ordinance shall be effective five (5) days after the date of its enactment, at which point the Ordinance shall apply in accordance with its terms regardless of the date of any applicable state or federal permits.

Section 7—People’s Right to Self-Government

The foundation for the making and adoption of this law is the people’s fundamental and  inalienable right to govern themselves, and thereby secure their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If other units or levels of government attempt to preempt, amend, alter, or overturn this Ordinance, or parts of this Ordinance, the Bellingham City Council shall hold public meetings that explore the adoption of other measures that provide for adequate local control and the ability of residents to protect their fundamental and inalienable right to self-government, including without limitation the amendment of the City Charter.

Section 8  State and Federal Law

By the adoption of this local Bill of Rights by this municipality, the people call for changes to state and federal law that would result in the recognition of a fundamental and  inalienable right to community self-government free of corporate control throughout this State and the United States. The people also declare their support for changes to state and federal law that would eliminate corporate constitutional rights and powers that currently interfere with, and prevent, the exercise of local self-governance. Those rights and powers include corporate authority to preempt community lawmaking, the “right” to obtain permits or licenses contrary to local law-making, corporate “rights” as “persons” under the State and federal constitutions, and other corporate “rights” under the State and federal constitutions.

Section 9Severability

The provisions of this Ordinance are severable. If any court of competent jurisdiction decides that any section, clause, sentence, part, or provision of this Ordinance is illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any of the remaining sections, clauses, sentences, parts, or provisions of the Ordinance. The people of the City of Bellingham hereby declare that in the event of such a decision, and the determination that the court’s ruling is legitimate, they would have enacted this Ordinance even without the section, clause, sentence, part, or provision that the court decides is illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional.

Section 10—Repealer

All inconsistent provisions of prior Ordinances adopted by the City of Bellingham are hereby repealed, but only to the extent necessary to remedy the inconsistency.

P.S. from the editors:

See the Bellingham Herald Article:

The Coal Free Bellingham website: