The Port of Olympia needs true fiducial responsibility, including transparent public cooperation. Local residents and the city of Olympia have expressed serious concerns about fracking proppants moving through the port to Bakken oil fields. Port reactions raise new concerns which require a response.
City Council resolutions against port handling of fracking proppants, and in support of Standing Rock water protectors, reflect community values in Olympia. Benefits include about $1 per ton of fracking sands, net to the port. Costs of fracking include climate change, water pollution, oil trains, racist colonialism in North Dakota, and law enforcement impacts and expenses.
Young and old protesters blocked train tracks to halt proppants. Olympia Stand participants, city staff and council members, and I, listened to each other, with a goal of public safety. Open communication is required for understanding and progress.
I scheduled a meeting for port commissioners to discuss a way toward peaceful resolution, but the meeting was canceled without my knowledge, and police action proceeded. Closed doors, secrecy, and misinformation do not help build bridges.
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The Nov. 28 Port Commission meeting highlighted challenges. A colleague’s attack failed to sanction me, because his charges were false. People were shocked and dismayed at this commissioner’s second egregious display of incivility. Our scheduled discussion of city resolutions was scrapped, and public comment was cut short. We need more collegiality, honesty, openness, and transparency.
Fiducial responsibility at the port includes cooperation with the public, to benefit our economy, community, and environment. We can do better, together.