By: Joelle Robinson
Earth Ministry Board Member
On Tuesday, November 16, members of faith, business and environmental communities gathered in Longview, WA for a hearing regarding the intended coal export terminal. Several Earth Ministry supporters were present, including myself and Program and Outreach Director Jessie Dye. (Jessie was quoted in an NPR story that ran on KUOW and KPLU - listen to the story here.)
Some background on the issue: coal companies are targeting Northwest Ports as the gateway for coal export terminals that would send staggering quantities of U.S. coal to China. The first terminal, proposed by Australia-based Ambre Energy, would annually export 5 million tons of Wyoming coal from a Longview port.
While Washington invests in clean technology jobs for wind, wave, and solar energy, the coal export terminals would reverse major commitments to reduce the state’s contribution to global warming pollution.
Learn more about the proposed coal facility's specific threats to Cowlitz County.For farmers, landowners, and communities, transporting coal to China is more than a nuisance—the coal dust poses a public health threat. According to Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad studies, 500 to 2,000 pounds of coal can be lost in the form of dust from each rail car. Each 100-car train may spill 20,000 pounds of coal dust into our rivers and towns.
Additionally, a major source of mercury in Washington is air deposition from Asia. Mercury is highly toxic, and coal-fired power plants in China are not subject to modern pollution controls. Such toxins are harmful to ecosystems, but also to human populations; exporting large amounts of coal will be detrimental to our brothers and sisters in China, as well.
Take action and sign a petition urging elected officials to oppose a Washington State coal export terminal.The good news is that the exportation of coal and the subsequent health affects can be prevented. As people of faith, our values tell us to speak against such environmental neglect. I encourage you to sign this petition, voicing your concern for the people who will be impacted by this terminal.