On December 6, 2013 at Town Hall in Seattle, reporter Ashley Ahearn moderated a discussion with Jay Julius, Lummi councilmember; and tribal law experts Mason Morisett and Knoll Lowney about an ongoing battle over a coal terminal, proposed to be built at Cherry Point, a sacred site for the Lummi.
Dozens of crab pot buoys dot the waters around Lummi tribal member Jay Julius’ fishing boat as he points the bow towards Cherry Point – a spit of land that juts into northern Puget Sound near Bellingham, Wash.
Three summers ago, the company that hopes to build the largest coal terminal in North America failed to obtain the permits it needed before bulldozing more than four miles of roads and clearing more than nine acres.
Proposals to make the Northwest a major coal exporting region have made for a familiar debate over the potential impacts on people and the environment. Will it help the economy? What will coal dust do to the air we breathe? Will our rivers and marine waters be threatened?
Here’s another question: Will coal trains harm the wetlands of the Pacific Northwest?
So far, wetlands have not been a central part of the public debate over coal exports. But concern over these ecologically sensitive areas are familiar to the federal regulators who will decide whether to permit coal export terminals.
In fact, according to government documents obtained by EarthFix, the Army Corps of Engineers has already studied the issue. And in at least one instance, it’s reached a conclusion:
A proposal to build the West Coast’s biggest coal export terminal will face stiff environmental scrutiny.
On Wednesday a joint release from the Washington Department of Ecology, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Whatcom County, Wash., announced they will consider climate change, human health and the environment when it comes to a coal port near Bellingham, Wash. And they’ll look at the entire route from Western mines to coal-burning plants in Asia.
Mayor Mike McGinn is in Washington, D.C., today to testify against the construction of three coal terminals in Washington state. He voiced his environmental concerns earlier today in front of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Even more concerns have arisen now that the Army Corp of Engineers, which is in charge of reviewing the environmental impact of the terminals, has decided not to investigate green house gas emissions.
EarthFix reporters Ashley Ahearn and Katie Campbell discuss the latest coal news with David Hyde. Plus, they preview the upcoming EarthFix documentary, "COAL."
The federal agency in charge of approving Northwest coal export terminals delivered a setback for environmentalists, telling a congressional panel Tuesday morning that it will not be considering the area-wide effects of transporting coal, or the global impact of burning it in Asia.
From the Duwamish River cleanup efforts to coal terminals to chuckling frogs; David Hyde talks with KUOW and EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn about the latest in Northwest environmental news. Plus, Ahearn talks about EarthFix’s upcoming documentary, "Voices of Coal: And EarthFix Multimedia Special."
The debate over exporting Wyoming and Montana coal through terminals on the Northwest coast has been heating up in recent months. Those who support exporting coal say the terminals will create thousands of jobs and tax revenue for the state. Opponents have raised concerns about the potential environmental and health impacts of coal. Now, some of them are taking matters into their own hands.
Environmental reporter Ashley Ahearn has been covering the different sides of the coal debate over the last year and today on The Conversation we want to hear what you think. Ross Reynolds sits down with Ashley Ahearn to parse out the arguments for and against the proposed coal terminals in Washington, and takes listener calls.