Screenshot from ANJE.

Isn't it Weird That

Isn’t It Weird That… yesterday the pro-coal terminal Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports seized on Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant as a fellow coal terminal advocate?

Yesterday the Puget Sound Regional Council releasedreport on the impacts of the controversial Pacific Gateway Terminal (AKA coal terminal). A proposed port for Cherry Point (north of Bellingham), the terminal would ship 54 million tons of dry goods (mostly coal) annually via Seattle's railroad lines. It’s been hot topic over the past year, facing strong criticism and support. The PSRC report found that the terminal would increase rail congestion throughout Puget Sound, while its economic benefits would be largely confined to Cherry Point.

Here's what's weird: the pro-terminal ANJE claimed Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant as an outspoken advocate of the terminal. But Bryant says he's spoken only in support of overall rail infrastructure and isn't pushing for or against the terminal.

ANJE posted the following Bryant quote as an example of local leaders speaking "in support of the Gateway Terminal”:

If our trade-dependent economy is going to generate more family wage jobs and if we’re going to keep the jobs we have now, our state and the railroads need to invest in critical rail improvements.

The quote is indeed from Bryant; it’s part of an official statement released yesterday by the Port of Seattle. But neither the Port nor Bryant were speaking in support of the terminal; they were only advocating, Bryant told us, for public investment in overall rail infrastructure "regardless of whether the terminal is built."

ANJE spokesperson Kathryn Stenger told PubliCola that despite this discrepancy, their response did not misrepresent Bryant since the terminal and rail infrastructure “are connected."

Weirder still: in that same statement, ANJE also charged that one of the firms that prepared the report had concealed a conflict of interest:

One of the main study authors, PFM, has completed past work for Communitywise Bellingham, an advocacy organization opposed to the Gateway Pacific Project. This conflict of interests is not noted in the study.

This is just false: the PSRC report not only discloses that PFM did a study for Communitywise Bellingham, but discusses that study at length (p. 29-30). (For what it's worth, Communitywise Bellingham's website says the organization has no position on the terminal---thought that's hard to square with this anti-terminal video, also on their website.)



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