Dear Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray, and Representative Larsen,
On behalf of citizens of Whatcom County, WA we respectfully request your immediate help. Please intervene with any and all measures available to you and resolve the issue of a long-term lease for ferry service to Lummi Island from Gooseberry Point/Lummi Nation.
Because of failed negotiations, the County received notice to discontinue the ferry that provided ridership of 180,733 round trips during 2010. The ferry serves as lifeline for nearly 1,000 full-time residents (per 2010 census), and at least double that in peak times. Discontinuation and alternative routes would threaten their health, safety, and general welfare, plus create negative impact on the economy, schools, and work force throughout Whatcom County. This is unacceptable.
Therefore, we ask that you aggressively pursue the following:
- A 25-year extension of the lease agreed upon by both parties in both 1982 and 1988 requires a signature from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Please get the BIA to sign it.
- The County and LIBC, by decree, must agree to terms at fair-market value (subject to binding arbitration in the event of an impasse). Please hold them accountable to agree on terms and continue the ferry service on a long-term lease.
The continual uncertainty of the last 1 1/2 years -- a constant possibility of islanders having their road to home closed, and/or having to move -- must end. You are empowered to achieve resolution. We, the undersigned, implore you to hasten to do so. Thank you.