28,000 comments submitted on Whatcom oil dock marked 'spam'

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — About 28,000 public comments submitted by environmentalists about a controversial oil-shipping dock in Whatcom County went missing after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' email system marked them as "malicious spam."

The Bellingham Herald reports that the Corps of Engineers solicited public comments last July in response to its study of the possible impacts of the dock at the BP Cherry Point refinery.

In response, the group Friends of the Earth created a form letter and asked people on its mailing list to send it in. Fred Felleman, a consultant for the group, said he gave the Corps a heads-up that the emails would be coming in.

But in October, the agency announced it had received just 2,000 public comments.

The Corps said that after Friends of the Earth inquired about all the comments its supporters had sent in, its technology staff was able to recover the missing emails.