PRESS: Associated Students of Western Washington University Adopt Resolution Opposing Cherry Point Coal Terminal

by: Posted on: January 08, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: December 3, 2011

Contact: Iris Maute-Gibson , Associated Students Vice President for Government Affairs, 360.650.3736, or Eric Jensen, Associated Students Western Action Coalitionmember, 360.595.4045

Editor’s Note: The Associated Students of Western Washington University have officially spoken out in opposition to the controversial expansion of coal exports from the deepwater terminal at Cherry Point. See our previous article: McKibben Comments on Expansion of Coal Exports at Cherry Point (Whatcom County).


BELLINGHAM, Western Washington University – On Tuesday night, the Western Washington University Associated Students Board of Directors sent a firm statement on behalf of thestudent community, voting to adopt a resolution opposing the proposed Gateway Pacific coalterminal at Cherry Point in Ferndale, WA.

The AS Board adopted the resolution in order to assert that students oppose the degradation of the health and vitality of our community and environment caused by the proposed coal terminal. The resolution states, “These facts conflict with the values of the community, the University, and the AS. Furthermore, the AS of WWU recognizes that WWU students have a civic responsibility to the communities of which we are inextricably a part.”According to the Western Office of Admissions website and 2010 Census data, Western students represent over eighteen percent of the total population of Bellingham.

Iris Maute-Gibson, AS Vice President for Government Affairs and sponsoring board member, said, “It is remarkable that the Associated Students Board of Directors is taking a stance on behalf of current and future students, acting on our responsibility as student leaders to amplify the voices of our community in this critical environmental justice issue. The process was extremely transparent and everyone who participated, students and board members alike, displayed thoughtful deliberation and unwavering passion.”

The resolution, co-sponsored by the Western Action Coalition and Maute-Gibson, received support in the student community and beyond; 18 student clubs and organizations ratified the resolution, and more than 450 students have signed a petition opposing the terminal.

Bill McKibben, internationally renowned environmental journalist, urged the AS Board to adopt the resolution in a statement asserting, “Thank God the students of WWU are taking up this fight. If this coal port is built, astronomical amounts of carbon will flow through Cherry Point on its way to the atmosphere; if you block it, you’ll have done an enormous service to the entire planet. So please: keep Bellingham famous for producing transformed students, not a transformed climate!”

The resolution emphasizes the need to support alternative economic proposals in Whatcom County that are consistent with ensuring the health of our environment and our community.

The Western Action Coalition is a broad based coalition of student clubs and organizations at Western Washington University that acts on pressing local environmental issues in Whatcom County, to protect the health of our community and the land that supports us. A new student group at Western this year, we host educational and outreach events, meet with decision makers, and engage in non-violent direct actions to meet these ends.

P.S. from the Editor:

For the PDF of the full resolution click here.

Click here for The Western Front’s (Western Washington University campus publication) coverage of the resolution.

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