coaltrainfacts.org is dedicated to providing clear, accurately-sourced information regarding coal and proposed West Coast coal export projects. Increases in the mining, hauling, shipping and burning of coal from the Powder River Basin would adversely affect communities, public health, local economies, treaty rights and the environment in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Halting coal export is an important step in reducing global carbon emissions and concomitant harm to climatic stability. As of September, 2013, CTF will continue to be an online library, but will cease being a news source. Posters illustrated by John Ritter.
I was pleased to speak at the Whidbey Institute’s first climate conference. Other speakers included here, in the Institute’s brief and compelling video, are KC Golden of Climate Solutions, Anna Fahey of Sightline Institute and Derek Hoshiko of Yes! Magazine.
“The climate crisis is not an environmental problem. It is a human problem. Humans have caused it and only humans can act to avert catastrophe. Yet many of us continue to live as if this crisis isn’t happening. Even those who accept the science, and care a lot. The time has come to go beyond the science, to a place of heart. The time has come to tap our deepest sources of moral courage and commitment.”
To learn more about the Climate Collaborative, visit whidbeyinstitute.org/our-work/climate-collaborative.
www.coaltrainfacts.org will soon become an online archive: as of September, 2013, we will no longer be updating information, accepting donations or conducting business. CTF has been an independently financed, volunteer-driven effort. I, the primary volunteer, now have other projects to tend. If necessary, CTF will become active again.Our purpose has been to provide the best information possible regarding west coast coal export, in particular the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, to citizens, organizations, journalists and decision-makers.Pertinent information is now widely available. The issue of exporting fossil fuels via West Coast ports has begun to command national attention. Ongoing studies, news updates, articles and action alerts about various proposed coal export facilities on both sides of the US/CDN border can be found at the websites of various involved organizations. Please see coaltrainfacts.org/links.The Washington State Department of Ecology has committed to a broadly scoped Environmental Impact Statement, including, and I quote here from www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2013/197.html:
- A detailed assessment of rail transportation on other representative communities in Washington and a general analysis of out-of-state rail impacts.
- An assessment of how the project would affect human health in Washington.
- A general assessment of cargo-ship impacts beyond Washington waters.
- An evaluation and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions of end-use coal combustion.
- As co-leads of the EIS, Whatcom County and the Army Corps of Engineers will work with Ecology in assessing additional impacts.coaltrainfacts.org does not tell people what to think; rather, we trust readers to come to their own, well-informed opinions. We encourage citizens to participate in whatever governmental processes may be available to them. We think communities should be involved in decisions regarding their own futures. However, I will take this opportunity to express my own personal (unsurprising) opinions:
- coaltrainfacts.org has focused on regional coal export because of the imminent and long-term threats posed by such proposals, but really, the issue is more complex.
- Increasingly, there are plans and proposals to ship fossil fuels out of the Salish Sea region.
- Coal is only one of these fossil fuels, and because it is so visibly noxious, it is likely the most easily defeated. We need to become more aware of how our own complex energy needs are connected to tar sands, to fracking, to disparate means of fossil fuel extraction and combustion. We need to invest in a healthy regional identity and in sustainable energy systems.
- Transportation issues need to be given their due: regardless of what’s being transported, we need to look at how we move goods across land and across sea. Heavy traffic of any kind requires infrastructure, makes noise, creates potential traffic tangles, and emits physical pollutions.
- There is no single means to solve these problems. There is no single message, or single right answer. There is, however, great common cause, and the more we exercise our democratic processes, our community rights and individual responsibilities, the stronger our democracy becomes.
Thank you to Nate Melanson, our web administrator, to the CTF board members and to all who have helped along the way. Thank you, readers, for your interest in coal export issues, in public health, in the environment, in quality of life, in community. It has been a pleasure to work alongside all of you.
Julie Trimingham, Editor