Letters to the Editor

Response to Pope, DOE agreement stalemate

Editor’s note: The following letters were written in response to the Herald’s editorial, “Pope must agree to cleanup plan it made with DOE,” page A4, Feb. 22 Herald.

We remind readers that Pope Resources entered into the Department of Ecology’s Voluntary Cleanup Program 11 years ago, and since that time has invested — according to Pope Resources — $10  million in cleanup.

Pope Resources’ final draft cleanup plan, submitted to Department of Ecology in October, is held up by Pope’s desire to not remove two docks until it receives approval for a new dock.

According to Jon Rose, president of Olympic Property Group, Pope and Ecology have agreed to all other parts of the plan. He said Pope is afraid of losing its water-access rights.

We applaud the North Kitsap Herald editorial board for clearly explaining the consequences of Pope Resource’s decision to renege on its agreement with the state Department of Ecology and the citizens of Washington to clean up Port Gamble Bay (“Pope must agree to cleanup plan it made with DOE,” page A4, Feb. 22).

It appears that after years of working hard to build community support for its plan to revitalize Port Gamble, Pope has calculated that it can risk squandering that goodwill by playing hardball with the public’s interest. After waiting more than 10 years for the cleanup to begin, it is difficult to understand the logic of Pope’s request that the state and we be more patient.

Pope’s insistence that the removal of the old docks be held hostage to approval of a new one is disingenuous. Pope understands that there are widespread and justifiable concerns about its proposal to build a new dock. Removing the old docks (let alone backing out of its prior commitment to remove them) won’t in any way mitigate those concerns, and likely will exacerbate them.

Using Pope’s logic, linking the removal of the old docks to approval of a new one would transform those opposing a new dock into obstructionists to the clean-up efforts. That’s a strange way to build public trust and support.

Last June, we attended a public meeting on Pope’s Port Gamble development plan in Kingston.  After laying out the plan’s ambitious goals, Pope’s spokespeople stressed that its vision for the future of Port Gamble simply would not go ahead without the strong and active support of the community.  At the time, we were skeptical, but felt Pope had made a strong case firmly based on its stated desire to remedy damage caused by its past practices, to improve the environment, and to support efforts to preserve significant areas of land and shoreline for public use.

Pope’s latest maneuvering seems to jeopardize each one of those laudable goals, and we are left wondering what Pope’s vision for Port Gamble has become.

Trevor Evans and Patricia Endresen
Hansville

n      n      n

Who wants 1,800 cancer-leaching creosote posts and 45,000 cubic yards of waste in their living room?

That is what is in Gamble Bay. That is where a lot of fish, clams and grass live. Gamble Bay is where a lot of people live, work and play. Gamble Bay is not healthy.

The owner of Gamble Bay is Gamble Bay itself. The water, marine life and plant life are its citizens. The State of Washington has conditional permission to use the resources of the bay. The unwritten agreement is to use the bay in a thoughtful, respectful way and, in return, the bay guarantees to supply abundant resources for the people of Washington. Our unclean Gamble Bay is a lack of respect for its citizens.

Tim Nord of the state Ecology Department did his job right withholding $9 million for the purchase of property on Gamble Bay until the clean-up plan is completed. No property should be sold, no trees cut, no permits granted, no proposals accepted until the cleanup is completed.

Port Gamble has a commendable vision of forest and trails, a life-giving bay, and the restoration of a historical village. The priority, in order to implement this vision, is a healthy, restored bay.

Olympic Property Group  and its shareholders are owners of 1,800 cancer-leaching posts and 45,000 cubic yards of polluting waste in Gamble Bay. If OPG shareholders won’t clean the bay now, then the state should clean up Gamble Bay. Clean up is critical to the life of Gamble Bay. It is the right thing to do.

North Kitsap 99%
Community relations Committee
Bruce McCain, Mary Gleysteen, Marilyn Bode, Margaret Tufft, Mark Barabasz, Baker Stocking, Craig Jacobrown, Bert Jackson

 

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