Ballard News-Tribune, September 26, 2012
By Zachariah Bryan
As election season closes in, ads circulate the television and people with petitions go around town, there is one question that is beginning to grow in the minds of Ballardites:
Does Ballard want coal?
Or, rather, does Ballard want extra coal trains to pass through it as they travel up to Bellingham to be shipped off to China?
It’s a question that is gaining immediacy as SSA Marine and Burlington Northern Sante Fe push forward to get a proposed coal export terminal established at Cherry Point, just north of Bellingham. The new line would result in 150 million tons of coal being transported through the Pacific Northwest, and through Ballard, on its way from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, the largest coal-producing region in the United States. Currently, only 50 million tons of coal are shipped through the Northwest annually.