Set the environmental bar high on coal transport and export

The Seattle Times, December 20, 2012
By Lance Dickie/Times editorial columnist

Washington residents across the state want the broadest review of environmental, health and safety impacts from coal trains and coal ports.

The Seattle TimesSeattle’s public hearing on a proposed coal-export terminal in Bellingham drew a feisty crowd.

The Seattle Times
Seattle’s public hearing on a proposed coal-export terminal in Bellingham drew a feisty crowd.

From the boisterous meeting at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, it was clear residents from far and wide want the broadest possible review of plans for a coal port near Bellingham.

The intimate gathering of thousands last week was the final of seven sessions — in Bellingham, Friday Harbor, Mount Vernon, Ferndale, Spokane, Vancouver and Seattle — to gauge how narrow or expansive the environmental-impact assessment should be.

Ostensibly the focus is the Gateway Pacific Terminal, but the overwhelming call is not for a project-specific inquiry that looks at a single activity, but for a big-picture study of regional impacts and the cumulative effects of multiple coal terminals proposed for Washington and Oregon.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Ecology and Whatcom County are the so-called co-leads for the process. Their determination of the breadth of the review is a warm-up for plans for Longview and elsewhere.

Getting the template right is important.

Read more…


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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