Below is a letter from Mary Ruth Holder, a leader in Coal Free Skagit:
Scoping is over, deadline met, we met the scoping comment challenge! Uncork the champagne bottles (but save one case for later - we will ultimately win this!) What an incredible team - you have done an amazing job making scoping comments. The power of your voices, your vision, your dedication and your creativity should never be underestimated by big coal and big money. I don't know what the final total number of comments submitted will be but saw a message from Climate Solutions and Re Sources saying that the number was "approaching 100,000."(This includes postcards and e-mail form comments.) I believe this is unprecedented.
What I do know for a fact is that Skagit set the (very high) bar for other communities. You have led the way.
Here is a partial list of all you have accomplished over at least the past year and a half:
• public outreach at tables for events like farmers markets, street fairs and making presentations to business and community groups - you brought us the numbers of participants we needed;
• talking to elected officials at meetings, one-on-one and sending them letters and e-mails;
• teaching, hosting and attending scoping comment writing workshops all over the valley (and the soup and cookies were delicious too!);
• working with business owners and helping these busy folks get comments sent - they are such an important voice;
• putting together and attending Dana Lyons concerts and being there to help others write scoping comments;
• going to the scoping hearings (many went to 4 or 5!), wearing red and waiving your hands in agreement (you cannot believe what a boost it was to speakers on stage to see our supporters out in the audience, your waving hands truly created that "wind beneath our wings");
• speaking at those hearings even when you hate public speaking!
• writing beautiful and heartfelt letters to the editor;
• engaging friends, family members, neighbors, church groups, book groups and even your doctors by talking to them individually!
• participating in our monthly meetings;
• displaying and providing signs, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and buttons to engage your community;
• keeping an eye on those train tracks for us and educating us about idling trains, building vibrations, coal dust, noise etc.
• writing great substantive and timely comments, comments, comments; and
• in all other ways, standing up for this place that we cherish and want to protect for future generations.
Thank you so much Carolyn and Ed Gastellum and Ginny Wolff - our absolutely fearless leaders, our inspiration. Thank you so much Robin Everett who kept us on track and organized the whole way and to Power Past Coal for their amazing support.
Some have asked if we have plans for an upcoming meeting to get news and discuss what are the next steps. Yes, its in the works and it will be a little celebration too. Carolyn and Robin are working on it. Stay posted.
See you soon and again, thank you again for all you have done. Also, Snowflake the Polar Bear and Olivia Orca J Pod asked me to please tell you "thank you for helping to protect your families and and ours" - Mary Ruth.