What’s at stake

Editorials & Opinion: Saturday, November 03, 2001

Letters to the editor

Our port’s lack of security illustrates how low a priority the public is (“Big hole in nation’s defenses: our ports,” Times, Oct. 28). Port spokesman Mick Shultz stated, “There’s very much a business mindset at U.S. ports, and certainly here in Seattle.” King County property owners subsidize the Port, which increases threats to this region while opposing safeguards.

Port officials have used their political clout to thwart the rescue tug in Neah Bay while promoting vessel traffic. They are responsible for limiting use of heavy rail for commuters while prioritizing the space for freight containers and enormous grain trains through the congested city. They still don’t require security escorts. It was the Mariners’ loss, not the Port’s efforts, that spared the crowds at Safeco Field the exposure of a bomb-laden ship.

The Coast Guard responds well to Congress’ desire to enhance homeport security. But prioritizing protection of our vulnerable ports has left our coast exposed. Fortunately, the rescue tug is in Neah Bay through the spring. Given the national role our waterways play for trade and defense, it is time the Port and Congress recognize the value of a rescue tug to our region’s security by establishing a permanent funding solution.

– Fred Felleman, NW director, Ocean Advocates, Seattle

~ by fredfelleman on November 3, 2001.

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