The Pacific Northwest is poised to become the nation’s leading coal-exporting region, but opponents — worried about health, pollution and snarled train traffic — are putting up a fight.
Asia wants cheap coal, and the mines in Montana and Wyoming have it. To get there, nearly 161 million tons of coal each year would be transported by train across Washington and then shipped from one of five proposed export terminals in Washington and Oregon.
“Coal Crossroads” takes a closer look at the push to use Washington’s ports to ship coal — where the projects would go, what impact it could have on jobs, the economy, local neighborhoods and health.
Watch the full-hour long documentary below, or here on YouTube.
In a follow-up episode of “The Impact,” we looked at one of the questions that people wanted to know after watching the documentary: Why don’t the coal companies simply cover the trains?
Here’s a short segment aimed at answering that question:
If you want to weigh in on the issue, now is the time.
Starting Sept. 24th, the agencies in charge of the environmental impact statement are collecting public comments about SSA Marine’s proposed coal terminal near Bellingham. The 120-day comment period ends on Jan. 21st, 2013.
To comment online, go to eisgatewaypacificwa.gov, or attend one of the following meetings:
Bellingham: Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Squalicum High School, 3773 E. McLeod Road
Friday Harbor: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012; noon to 3 p.m.; Friday Harbor High School, 45 Blair Ave.
Mount Vernon: Monday, Nov. 5, 2012; 4 to 7 p.m.; McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way
Seattle: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012; 4 to 7 p.m.; Washington Convention Center, Ballroom 6F. 800 Convention Place, Seattle.
Ferndale: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012; 3 to 7 p.m.; Ferndale Events Center, 5715 Barrett Road
Spokane: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012; 4 to 7 p.m.; Spokane County Fairgrounds, 404 N. Havana St., Spokane Valley
Vancouver: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012; 4 to 7 p.m.; Clark College, Gaiser Student Center, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way
For more about how the environmental impact study process works, “The Impact” interviewed Gordon White from the state Department of Ecology. Watch that show here:
Links & resources for Washington and Oregon
Coal terminal operators:
Millennium Bulk (Longview, Wash.)
Gateway Pacific Terminal (Cherry Point near Bellingham, Wash.)
Morrow Pacific (Boardman, Ore.)
State and county resources:
Dept. of Ecology Environmental Review – Bellingham
Dept. of Ecology Environmental Review – Longview