Into the Volcano


I know what it is like to live in the shadow of a volcano. Yep, Mt. Baker is an active volcano that could erupt any millennium. Which brings me to local politics.

I used to write a lot about local politics because democracy is really funny when you break it down into its smallest components, by which I mean idealists with too much time on their hands.

Currently, around Whatcom County, is an issue of coal. Not that we have any coal or burn any coal, but coal is about to be exported through one of our deep water shipping ports. The facilities have been upgraded, the permits issued, now it's all over but the foot stomping. Local folks are so furious that coal is being burned any where in the world that they are doing everything they can to stop it.

And their next move is to put a measure on the ballot that would prohibit the transport of coal through the city of Bellingham. I saw the petition, so I know it exists. People are walking through the neighborhoods collecting signatures. When they came to my door, I mentioned that the United States Constitution had an interstate commerce clause. The volunteer, obvious riled by this statement, excitedly flipped to the second page of the petition where, in legalese, it stated that the interstate commerce clause did not have the right to stop them.

Apparently, saying something isn't so with a flurry of therefore's and whereby's, nullifies it.

I declined to sign while feeling bad about it. I don't like coal burning either, but until something replaces it, that is an obvious source of energy. Which brings me to Mt. Baker.

The other day I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Vote No on Prop One. Stop Mt. Baker from erupting.” I'd support that.

Nancy Sherer



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