December 2017 (volume 26, issue 12)

What Can We Do? Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

by Ray Kamada Part II What a difference a decade makes. In the summer of 2008, then-congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) grilled commodity traders and oil execs as to why crude oil had rocketed to 6 a barrel. (1) Gasoline had … Continue reading

Whatcom Water Use — With and Without Permission

by Eric Hirst With rare exceptions, everyone in Washington must have a water right to legally draw water from streams, rivers, lakes or from groundwater wells. Some farmers in Whatcom County, however, are using water without state authorization. Informal and … Continue reading

Winter Birding

by Joe Meche After what seemed like an abrupt transition from fall to winter, we suddenly find ourselves facing a few months of birding wearing multiple layers. Migratory birds have either passed through on the way to warmer climes or … Continue reading

Lauds Whatcom Watch’s Coverage and Balance

Dear Editor, I am writing to express my commendation for the excellent articles in the latest issue [October/November 2017] of Whatcom Watch, in particular the article about the Atlantic salmon in Washington State. Learning about the history of Atlantic salmon … Continue reading

A Big Flaw in Bellingham’s Rehab Program

I am concerned about the city of Bellingham’s Home Rehabilitation Program. The intention of repairing safety items with a low interest loan is great; however, they require you to use contractors which they have vetted and have legal qualifications met, … Continue reading

Bold Action Needed for Salmon Recovery

by Lorraine Loomis Frustrated with the lack of progress in salmon recovery — especially Puget Sound chinook — treaty tribes in western Washington have proposed seven bold actions to jump-start those efforts. Puget Sound chinook were listed under the Endangered … Continue reading

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale Action Taken at August 8, 2017 Meeting Shall the council: 145. Appoint one councilmember to the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee? At the 4/18/2017 meeting, vote #73, the council combinded the Behavioral Health Advisory Board and the … Continue reading

Port of Bellingham Commission

Action Taken at August 15, 2017 Meeting Shall the commission: 106. Authorize the sale of two vessels for the nonpayment of moorage fees? Auctions are scheduled to be held in Blaine on September 7 for a 37-foot cruiser with unpaid … Continue reading

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at October 9, 2017 Meeting Shall the council: 164. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement (amendment #1) with the Port of Bellingham for infrastructure installation on Granary Avenue and Laurel Street? The city has opened bids and … Continue reading

Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot Project

by Lucy McInerney Editor’s Note: Since the article by Nicole Oliver appeared in 1997, many projects have moved forward under the Demonstration Pilot Project. Here’s an update. Bellingham Bay Comprehensive Strategy Work in Bellingham Bay is happening with the guidance … Continue reading

As Clean Power Plan Is Gutted, Congress Must Step in to Price Carbon

by Mark Reynolds In its zeal to undo the legacy of our 44th president, the Trump administration is now undoing the future of our children and grandchildren by repealing the Clean Power Plan, a policy designed to reduce the heat-trapping … Continue reading


Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor “When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — … Continue reading

Information Fair Presents Bay Clean-up Project

by Nicole Oliver This excerpt is from the December 1997 issue of Whatcom Watch. On November 18, 1997, a pilot project to clean up the contaminated sediments in Bellingham Bay was unveiled to the public in an information fair at … Continue reading

“Things Will Not Improve”

by Lyle Harris Sr. This section is devoted to studying the local impacts of specific issues the Trump Administration or Republican Congress will propose. Why does politics escape careful examination? Why do some people in their professional field quickly distinguish … Continue reading

Refuge for Discarded Caregivers

by Robert A. Duke A Salute to Inspired Citizen Healthcare Where do caregivers go when they lose their patients? It rarely ends any other way, but when patient and caregiver are separated by institutional care, hospice or death, the end … Continue reading