What do you want to know about the Tethys UGA expansion proposal?

August 21, 2012 23:58 by Ryan

imageOn Tuesday, September 4, the City Council will discuss the proposed resolution to ratify the mayor’s unauthorized application to the County to expand the Anacortes Urban Growth Area on behalf of Tethys Enterprises (ostensibly for a bottled water plant). A number of commenters at last night’s meeting had concerns about Tethys’s plans and questions that we need answers to before our next council discussion.

So what do you want to know?

In preparation for that discussion, I plan to send questions to city staff and Tethys representatives. Let me know with a note in the comments below what you’d like to know about their proposal. Feel free to elaborate on why it’s important.

Comments (24) -

Heather Burke

August 23, 2012 12:38

Am I correct in understanding that Tethys will be the transient owner of the proposed property, and
that the venture capital company will turn around and sell the property rights to the bottling company?  The bottling company will be PepsiCo, who will be the ultimate owner of water rights from Anacortes of 5 million gallons/day?

Heather Burke

Barry Schaeffer

August 23, 2012 12:53

I commute to Everett every weekday morning.  How will the proposed rail expansion affect my commute options through Burlington and La Conner?

Barry Schaeffer

Sandra

August 23, 2012 13:19

How come Tethys orally promised Everett 1,000 jobs and offers Anacortes 500 jobs?  Where did 500 jobs go?  Since bottling plants can start smaller and build bigger, is that what Tethys plans? Starting with how many gallons of water per day--5 million as the initial maximum?

Sandra

Jim Taylor

August 23, 2012 14:48

Will Tethys be using deep water shipping for delivering products overseas?

Does the city have the right to cut off water in specified situations?

What percent f the water will be bottled on site?

What will be employment level after construction?

Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor

August 23, 2012 14:51

Will the water plant use deep water shipping for its products?

What percent of the product will be bottled on site?

Jim Taylor

Zachary Barborinas

August 23, 2012 17:42

It is my understanding that Tethys has promised hundreds of jobs.  Originally, we are told that Tethys first approached Snohomish County to build this "plant", however, that County required that Tethys put the 300 jobs in writing as a guarantee.... Tethys would not and now are in Skagit County negotiating with Anacortes.  Tethys can say hundreds of job will come, but is there a guarantee in writing?

What plan does Anacortes have for 2046 when the 1996 agreement with the Swinomish Tribe is up?  Will Anacortes still have the arranged "water rights" they have now or will concessions need to be made to the Swinomish?

Will likely state adjudication or a class action lawsuit impact your arrangements with Tethys or the water treatment plant financing? As you can imagine, if the Swinomish win in the Supreme Court, this is the next likely course of action for the citizen of Skagit County.  The paper trail for a class action lawsuit include actions by Anacortes.

Zachary Barborinas

Ross Barnes

August 24, 2012 02:00

Why does the UGA expansion proposal NOT include the abandoned railroad ROW that forms the western shoreline of Turners Bay between Stevenson and Similk Bay Roads?  This shoreline strip is left in County RRv zoning.  This narrow strip is critical to the Tethys site plan and rail service yard because it is where proposed rail access enters the Tethys site from the reconstructed rail line north of Stevenson Road.  

Ross Barnes

Bill Dietrich

August 24, 2012 09:00

Has the city explored competitive proposals to Tethys? Is this the best deal?

Rail, truck, and commuter car impacts: how many, when, what impact of stoplight waits, rail crossings, etc.

A breakdown of salary-wage scales at a typical bottling plant. The $40,000 figure is highly misleading, averaging executive and line worker salaries.

An estimate of where the new workers would live and what the impact would be on Fidalgo Island school, police, and emergency services?

Visual impact on the city's view corridor along Highway 20: will this make an already ugly entryway to Anacortes even worse?

Wetland impacts: how much, and what mitigated?

What evidence is there that Tethys has made ANY progress toward partnering with an actual bottling manufacture, or that there is ANY industry interest in Skagit water?

Does this match the quality-of-life vision for Anacortes? (Oh, there is no vision - except for a longing to return to the industrial Nirvana of mill-town 1950s?)

How many U.S. bottling plants currently provide 500 jobs?

What will be the energy cost (electricity, petroleum for plastics, etc.) and carbon emission contribution of bottling 5 million gallons a day and shipping it across the western United States, and then recycling or disposing of the containers?

What will the bottled beverages sell for, per gallon, wholesale and retail, vs. the water cost paid to the city of Anacortes?

Bill Dietrich

Pat Young

August 24, 2012 11:42

I don't live in Anacortes but I do receive water from their water system as do many others who don't live within the city limits.  We would be affected by what happens to the Anacortes water supply.

My question:  As climate change progresses, the predicted level of the Skagit River is likely to  become more dependent on rainful than on melt water from rapidly declining glaciers.  The level of the river may decline to a point where salmon are unable to enter the river for spawning.  If this occurs, is there language in the agreement that would allow the City of Anacortes to be relieved of the requirement to provide millions of gallons daily to Tethys?  Or would the contractural responsibility for probiding water trump the need of citizens for the water?

Pat Young

Mike and Betty Townsend; Alex & Jean Taylor

August 27, 2012 09:47

Questions and Points for the City Council to Consider

1.  Does Tethys have access to B.N. rail?

2.  If so, what is the cost to install the rail spur, and who pays?

3.  The spur will have gradient problems from the main line to the underpass at Highway 20.

4.  Road Crossings:  (A)  South March Point Road - Overpass or Road Gradient?  (B) Padilla Heights Road, Reservation Road, Stevenson Road, these will be level crossings.  Will there be gates and flashing red lights?

5.  The rail spur will cross P19696.07AC of Robert Separovich.  We understand he does not want to sell.  Is this part of the 11.15 acres to be part of the Anacortes UGA?

6.  The movement of rail traffic over this spur will negate the flow of road traffic by these crossings!

7.  What was the cost of the study?

8.  There will be no return on investment while building.

9.  Are there Tribal comments?

Mike & Betty Townsend, Alex & Jean Taylor

Mike and Betty Townsend; Alex & Jean Taylor

Anne Jackets

August 27, 2012 20:27

It is no unusual during dry, hot summer weather for Mayor Maxwell to ask Anacortes residents to stop watering their lawns to conserve this precious commodity.  If Tethys takes its promised share, how will that affect the Anacortes citizens' water supply?

Anne Jackets

Jim Casey

August 28, 2012 20:49

How much will the city of Anacortes be paid for the water? Has TETHYS signed a contract with the city for the alleged 500 jobs? Have any studies been made concerning the emissions from the manufacture of billions of plastic bottles over 30 years. Has any consideration been given to the noise level in the proposed plant area due to to the railroad switch yard at the plant. The noise level may well diminish real estate values and contribute to pollution from railroad engine emissions. The current proposed annexation is now one house per 10 acres, giving new meaning to the old Tennessee Earnie Ford song  THE RAILROAD GOES THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE HOUSE.

Jim Casey

Tom Glade

August 28, 2012 22:47

1. Is the City's bond rating tied to the Tethys water contract?

2. If Tethys abandons ship, will the City's ability to pay off it's debt, including the ~$50M bond for the water plant expansion, be in jeopardy?

Tom Glade

Ursula Mass

August 29, 2012 22:08

When can we put an end to this madness?  What ever happened to open government?  How was it possible that the Mayor's and Council's ludicrous pet project hadn't been put to rest many months ago?  An investigation in their involvement and failure to practice democracy in action by considering the will of the majority of the citizens, is long overdue.  It seems that there was more to it then bringing employment to this City, no doubt!  
Will there be comments allowed at the hearing on Sept. 4th?
The river is our life line.  How can a huge industrial venture as this possibly justify, sacrificing our most precious resource?  Big Conglomerates as Nestles, Pepsi and CocaCola are buying up water rights all over the world and then selling the water back to the public with enormous profits.  Is this what might happen to this region?  Everett turned them down. One of the reasons was that the company couldn't even be made accountable for 300 job provision. Now we are to believe that they can provide 500 jobs.  Where are the facts to establish this.  
What type of jobs are they, what will the pay entail and are there safety factors to be involved? Everett denied them.  Why aren't we doing the same.
I was shaken to the core what I learned while I was attending the hearing on Aug. 20th.  Am I really one of a few that had no idea what to expect?  I thank all those concerned and dedicated citizens for their diligent research and comments on that day.  Where would we be blindly headed to, without their input..  What an eye opener!!

Now I would like to add briefly why I feel so strongly about this.  It's about my own family's personal history.  
We live on Fidalgo Island since 1956.  We raised 3 children here.  They were all educated in the Anacortes School District and graduated from Anacortes Highschool to go off to College.
When we settled here in this little corner of Heaven (that's what we call these San Juan Islands with it's natural beauty), we knew that we wouldn't have the convenience of being employed next door or down the road.  We realized that we had to make our living by commuting some distance away.  We chose selfemployment.  My deceased husband was a brick and stone mason. He drove miles and miles every day to the various job sites in the region.  Yes, it was time consuming and costly.  On the other hand what did we gain though that money can't buy? It was the privilege of living in an unspoiled Paradise, a peacful, healthy environment. It was a way of life that would benefit our children greatly also.  My son had a home built in our neighborhood recently.  He commutes to his workplace in Arlington on a daily basis.  He does it for the same reason his parents did.
I wonder how many families in and around Anacortes have chosen that same way of life.  I am sure we would make up the majority and not just a small group of citizens.
A mayor's job isn't to bring questionable, exploiting industrial giants in to the City to provide some jobs to some people.  His job is foremost to be a servant of the citizen in his City.  He needs to be willing to hear them out in order to find out their needs and their vision for the future of this region.  He doesn't have the right to destroy the way of life for the people who choose to live here.  The tourists flock in here and bring revenue to the City in order to stay a while enjoying the uniqueness of this area. Anacortes is the gate way to the San Juan Islands and beyond. via the Ferries.  Why not concentrate more on the numerous possibilities for employment, by supporting small businesses to promote Tourism?

Ursula Mass

Judy Booth

August 30, 2012 15:36

Living within 5 miles of the proposed bottling plant, it is absolutely outrageous that the City of Anacortes would tout this plant as being within the city limits when it is not annexed yet – dupping me into thinking this plant would be along R Avenue or some place in Anacortes instead of my backyard.  My neighbors and I have just learned in the last two days that this going to impact our lives so negatively.  How dare the Mayor, the council do this high-handed, behind closed doors decision making?  It is so appauling, so undemocratic I could spit.  The following is a letter I’ve written to the local paper.  Had the mayor been honest and forthwright from the beginning he would have know that there were far more people against this than for it.  If this annexation passes, he can count on litgation, snarls, appeals until it is stopped entirely.

The Editor:


“With water fast becoming a more limited resource than oil, it is of extreme importance we look at the proposed water bottling plant at Reservation Road and Highway 20 to be the largest water bottling plant in the United States taking 9% of the City’s water.

The Pacific Institute, an American non-profit research firm, estimates it takes 3 liters of tap water to make 1 bottle of bottled water.

Why would we want to give away 9% of our water and then sell it as “bottled” water (or drinks) for the next 30 to 40 years as stipulated?

With no regulations on bottling water, many bottling companies use tap water and sell it as bottled water, just as Tethy’s proposes.  Marketing by bottling companies for years has dupped the public into thinking bottled water is somehow safer or better than tap water.  

The City of Anacortes stands to gain immensely from the tax revenues.  They don’t stand to gain much from jobs as research shows that the 500 – 800 jobs Tethy’s originally promised but subsequently refused to write in a contract is more likely closer to 25 to 100 minimum wage jobs – and dangerous ones at that.  No, the big deal for Anacortes must be, as far as I can figure, future tax revenues.    The largest plant in the U.S. right now, in Ontario, CA employs only 125 people.  No doubt the Mayor already knows this, but has itchy palms for tax revenues.

I cry foul.  By extending the city limits out past Reservation Road, miles and miles from the actual City of Anacortes puts the plant in La Conner’s backyard.  They won’t have to deal with the air pollution, noise pollution, the blasting of bedrock and the road congestion, we who live in La Conner, the Snee-oosh beach community, Snee-oosh and Reservation road residents, Golden View, Pull & Be Damned Road and the county, we that travel to Anacortes for groceries, library, and hardware stores, will have to put up with it and its attendant pollution.

By the time this gets to your paper, the vote will be cast and as everyone in Anacortes tells me, “It’s a done deal”.  You made this decision as if the property was already annexed, making decisions without my input, a resident of this county and just five miles from the plant.  You can sit back, reel in the tax revenues without listening, seeing, or fighting the traffic of this resource-draining plant.  Shame on you.”


Judy Booth
La Conner, WA  98257
360-610-3279




Judy Booth

Ann Bugund

August 30, 2012 15:42

What is the impact on the salmon supply?

If this is such a good thing for the community, why has there not been any public announcement? Why has it been kept in the dark until a few concerned citizens found out just a few days ago?

Ann Bugund

Judy Booth

August 30, 2012 16:22

Presently the water largest bottling plant in the US is in Ontario, CA (Arrowhead).   It appears from my research they employ 125 people at low to minimum wage.  what are the wages and number of employees is Tethy's willing to commit to in contract?

Judy Booth

Diane Sherman

August 30, 2012 16:49

How would all this activity affect the nearby, large heron rookery?

How will emergency vehicles travel on Hwy 20 when the train is crossing?

Diane Sherman

Judy Booth

August 31, 2012 07:09

Tethy's proposal includes food.  What food, how will it be packaged, where will they draw the raw materials?  What percentage of the whole product will be food versus water/beverage?

Judy Booth

Tom Glade

August 31, 2012 09:22

When, not if, the Anacortes CIty Council approves UGA Extension, will Skagit County reject the application outright because the application is incomplete and fatally flawed?

Will the County folds its tents when the City wants to annex Culbertson's  Rural Marine Industrial (RMI) zone to accommodates the 8/10ths of mile rail yard that's not mentioned in the application and not included on the facility map?

Will the County abandon the RMI, one of its few revenue generating lands ,when its coffers are so stretched?

Tom Glade

Tony Cowen

September 4, 2012 10:34

Mr Walters:



I strongly believe the proposal to build a bottling plant in Anacortes fails your duties to your constituents.

Though I support jobs growth:

Tethys has shown a willingness to lie to city/county governments;
we don't have a surplus of water to sell;
the manufacture of plastic bottles is a waste of our finite supply of petroleum;
the bottled water industry is based on myths created by the manufacturers and insults the intelligence of all;
the land in question is too close to wetlands to be considered for the largest bottling plant in the country;
the rail lines are north of St Rt 20 and any industrial expansion should be there;
the whole process smacks of GRAFT and CORRUPTION.

I pledge to work for the defeat of any politician who backs this proposal and/or tries to shove it down our throats.
Please do not let Anacortes be the town that falls for this con game.

Yours,
Anthony P Cowen
13417 N Green St
Anacortes WA 98221

Tony Cowen

Gene Derig

September 4, 2012 10:51

I understand that the property of Mr. Separovich is no longer part of the annexation plan.  Does this change the proposal?  What are the implications of someone refusing be part of the plan?  Would it be cause to submit another proposal?

Thanks

Gene Derig

notethys

September 4, 2012 17:33

No Tethys for Anacortes. especially not at this location. no transparency.

notethys

Donna G.Davidson

September 12, 2012 12:59

how likely is it that  Burlington Northern and the state will allow/fund/support construction of a rail spur crossing the only highway access to Anacortes, the San Juan ferries, the refineries, and Whidbey Island, including the navy base? If the GMA is amended now, and the site proves impossible (there's also the wetland encroachment problem) it's my understanding that the city would not be able to consider another annexation for at least 2 years. Annexation is at best premature: the original Tethys contract offers no guarantee of benefit in terms of jobs, infrastructure or taxes.  Why is a company needing extensive ground transportation applying to locate on an island, anyway?

Donna G.Davidson

Comments are closed