"Rick Larsen’s unqualified support of the Gateway Pacific Terminal has cost him the vote of many citizens in the Second Congressional District and the endorsement of his own party in Whatcom County. But, not for the reasons one would think.
His concern for the environment and for the well-being of Bellingham residents and others, who live along the railroad, apparently goes only as far as the balance of his campaign’s checkbook. In the last few years, he has received over $42,500 in campaign contributions from companies associated with the terminal. Does anyone wonder where his real interest in this project lies?
Larsen enjoys generous campaign contributions while ignoring public concerns about the issues. BNSF pays him not to care. When big business pats him on the back, he returns the favor. He has refused to offer any constructive suggestions about the terminal and refused to listen to the worries of citizens who will be affected by it. He simply encourages citizens to "get involved" by attending public scoping meetings regarding the project instead of showing real leadership and guiding this issue toward a workable resolution.
There is only one man in this race who will represent his constituents, and it isn’t the 12-year incumbent big-business bought to secure interest in this highly profitable project.
Dan Matthews hasn’t received a penny from BNSF, Peabody, SSA Marine, or Goldman Sachs. He’s not in the pocket of "big coal" or any other corporate interest. He is a resident of the Puget Sound region and is personally affected by the operation of the Terminal. He lives minutes from the Mukilteo Ferry and Train Station. He knows firsthand the effects that over-utilized transportation infrastructure can have on local communities, and he knows that they can be mitigated.
Matthews is serious about protecting your interests and the interests of our Second Congressional District. He has specific ideas that allow the project to continue for the benefit of local jobs, while simultaneously addressing the concerns of the public. For example, he has proposed that a small mitigation fee – one dollar for each ton of coal – be added to the coal being shipped, with each dollar going toward a fund to mitigate air and noise pollution, traffic congestion and more. BNSF won’t pay more than five percent to decrease the impact of these shipments – Matthews wonders who is managing this issue –is there anyone in a position of power representing the public rather than the corporate interest?
Let the buyers of the coal pay for the impact of these coal trains. If it costs $14 per ton to mine the coal – let another dollar per ton be part of the buyer’s cost. One dollar per ton would yield perhaps $100 million per year to the proposed fund. Matthews has also proposed increasing the size of the US Coast Guard in Puget Sound in order to better enforce maritime and shipping law. Air and water quality monitors must also be increased and situated to assure any adverse environmental impacts are immediately detected.
Larsen offers vacuous promises that he is "for local jobs". We don’t need the terminal issue to serve as an opportunity for professional politicians to exercise their tired phrases; we need representation that offers answers through constructive compromise and realistic new ideas.
Matthews has offered real solutions for this and related issues. Representative Larsen has passively addressed a vital project to the detriment of the region. It’s time we made a choice to change."