Natural Resources News Service, November 26, 2012
By David Rosenfeld
In Cherry Point, Washington, north of Bellingham, conservationists have worked for more than a decade to restore the annual herring runs that occur off the coast. Over the past 40 years, stocks have declined on this 10-mile stretch of coastline from about 17,000 tons of herring spawning off the coast to less than 1,000 tons.
Biologists who have studied the problem blame three refineries, which combined see about 600 to 700 ship visits per year. Now one of the world’s largest shipping companies, SSA Marine, wants to build a new terminal here with the potential to ship up to 50 million tons of North American coal annually to China. The so-called Gateway Pacific Terminal would double ship traffic with much larger vessels and increase rail traffic in the region.