BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A Bellingham City Council member is explaining his decision to support a lawsuit against the citizen initiative banning coal trains in the city.
The council last month approved a legal challenge of the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights because it aims to override federal law.
In a recent email to constituents, council member Michael Lilliquist says the initiative is “doomed to being overturned in court.”
He says he understands that sponsors of the initiative passionately want to stop coal trains; he’s just worried about the method they’ve chosen.
The Whatcom County Auditor last week certified that the sponsors of the initiative had submitted enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Lilliquist says if the initiative is denied by the courts, he and council member Cathy Lehman have discussed finding a way to respect the substance of the initiative as an advisory vote, rather than a legally-binding proposition.