Common Dreams, originally published by Inter Press Service December 28, 2013
By Matthew Charles Cardinale
SPOKANE, Washington — Citizens and activists in the U.S. Pacific Northwest are fighting three different proposed coal terminals, including one in Oregon and two in Washington.
Meanwhile, three formerly proposed coal terminals have already been defeated. Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign recently cited these defeats as signs of progress in the broader campaign to retire the use of coal plants across the U.S. altogether.
“There are three main reasons we oppose coal exports,” Trip Jennings, organizer for Portland Rising Tide, told IPS.
“The first reason – I think the most important for us – is the fact that we’re closing down power plants in the U.S.,” he said. “Oregon and Washington will be totally coal-free in a number of years. We as a community and as citizens decided we didn’t want to burn coal. If we allow corporations to export… it undercuts all the work that we’ve done to address the climate crisis.”
“Second, this has a huge impact on the number of trains that are coming through this area. It creates a situation where we’re committed to shipping highly destructive commodities, rather than shipping people or clean resources on our rails,” Jennings said.
“Third is the dust that is created when these cars lose one pound of dust per car per mile. They’re sprinkling the countryside, the rivers, streams, and communities with toxic, dirty coal dust [leading to asthma and lung disease].”