Coal-export hearing packed, mostly by opponents

The Seattle Times, Originally published December 13, 2012, modified December 14, 2012
By Craig Welch and Brian M. Rosenthal

More than 2,300 people turned out at the Washington State Convention Center [in Seattle, Washington] to share their thoughts on a proposal to export coal through ports in the Northwest.

They came carrying drums and American flags, decked out in soccer gear and cowboy hats and divided themselves by the color of their shirts.

More than 2,300 people packed two rooms at the Washington State Convention Center on Thursday to tell government officials what they thought about plans to export coal from Rocky Mountain states through ports in the Northwest.

The hearing, sponsored by Whatcom County, the state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was the last of several around the region. It asked the public what issues should be studied when the government kicks off an environmental review next month of plans to ship 48 million tons of coal to Asia through a terminal at Cherry Point outside Ferndale in Whatcom County.

Supporters indicated study should focus only on that one terminal.

“Should the Cherry Point site be scrutinized? Absolutely,” said Shahraim Allen, chair of the Washington State Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, who, like many coal-terminal supporters, wore a green shirt. “Should the impact on Puget Sound be studied? Without a doubt. But that is where the studies should stop.”

But with the vast majority of the crowd and speakers decked out in red anti-coal shirts, discussion often centered on more than just the so-called Gateway Pacific Terminal. It included concerns about the ecological risks of other proposed Northwest coal ports, from the Oregon side of the Columbia River to southwest Washington.

If all those terminals were built, they would ship more than 140 million tons of coal a year to China and elsewhere, making the Northwest the country’s largest exporter of the fossil fuel.

Read more of same article…


Get involved in the Gorge…Coal Export Comment sites and deadlines

In Depth: Opponents mob Seattle coal-port hearing …Seattle Post Intelligencer

About coalfreegorge

Coal is rearing its head again the Columbia Gorge. The new threat comes in the form of proposals to export coal from Wyoming to coal-fired power plants in China. The coal would be transported via uncovered rail cars through the Columbia Gorge. Many Columbia Gorge Communities in Oregon and Washington support a coal-free world, beginning at home, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, recognizing the importance of people determining what materials are allowable for transport through their communities and watersheds. This blog exists to communicate and advocate for the public interest in issues pertaining to coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, providing an online outlet for honest discussion and information. To inform and unite local citizens about the damaging effects of coal transport through our communities. To endorse positive and considerate dialogue with the aim of mutual understanding among diverse parties. CLEAN AIR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES NO COAL EXPORTS STOP COAL IN ITS TRACKS
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