Posts Tagged ‘PNW ports’
The Government Accountability Office says developing a national freight strategy should pay attention to the impact of congestion on communities.
GAO’s report (GAO-14-740), released on 26 September, found that recent trends in freight flows, if they continue as anticipated, “may exacerbate congestion issues in communities, particularly along certain corridors.”
As of 2012, the latest year for which data is available, national freight rail and truck traffic had approached the levels reached in 2007, prior to the economic recession, the report continues. “Certain trends related to specific commodities have affected rail flows, including increases in domestic crude oil production. A key negative impact of increasing freight flows is congestion at highway-rail grade crossings, where road traffic must wait to cross the tracks when trains are passing.” Read the rest of this entry »
Now we’re down to two. Oregon’s Department of State Lands last week denied an Ambre Energy proposal to transport coal by rail to a Port of Morrow, OR terminal for eventual export to China and other Asian markets.
It’s the latest in a series of wins for opponents of six coal company proposals to move coal through the Pacific Northwest on the way to Asian markets. However the two biggest plans, both located in Washington State, are still alive: the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham, and the Millennium Bulk Terminal at Longview on the Columbia River. Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s final public hearing on the proposed coal export terminal in Bellingham, WA promises to be a major happening, with thousands of red-shirted opponents primed to speak out against it.
Here’s the skinny from the Waterkeepers Alliance:
A growing coalition of Northwest residents are traveling hundreds of miles to make sure agencies understand their strong opposition to dangerous coal transport through their communities. The outcry from citizen groups across the Northwest is in response to a proposed expansion of exported coal from Powder River Wyoming to industries in China, India and the Far East. As part of its plan, the coal industry threatens to send 60 new mile-long coal trains through many rail communities in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to five proposed export terminals, where the dirty carbon-based fuel will be loaded onto ships destined for Asia.
On Thursday, December 13th, in Seattle, thousands are anticipated to attend the final public hearing to weigh in on a plan to build the largest of five proposed Northwest coal terminals near Bellingham, Washington. The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, would be constructed in a wetland area adjacent to a critically important aquatic reserve, and would receive and export 48-54 million tons of coal per year.
Waterkeepers from around the Northwest are opposing the transport of coal and the construction of the terminals. In Seattle, Waterkeeper Alliance National Director Pete Nichols will join local Waterkeeper programs to attend the hearing and to represent the dozens of other Waterkeepers across the U.S. and Asia that oppose coal exports.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Whether or not the Environmental Impact Statement produced for approval of the terminal reflects the true impact of coal mining, transportation and burning, and whether or not global climate change is considered for the most dramatic proposed expansion in fossil fuel exports in years.
WHO: Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper; Matt Krogh, North Sound Baykeeper; Bart
Mihailovich, Spokane Riverkeeper and Pete Nichols, National Director with the Waterkeeper Alliance will join thousands at the Seattle hearing and hundreds at the pre-hearing rally.
WHAT: A rally and press conference followed by a public “scoping” hearing for the Federal Environmental Impact Statement.
WHEN: Thursday, December 13th
2pm – Rally and Press Conference (Freeway Park)
4pm – Public Hearing (Washington Convention Center)
WHERE: The hearing is at Washington Convention Center, Downtown Seattle, 800 Convention Place, Ballroom 6F. The rally and press conference will be at Freeway Park, which is adjacent to the Convention Center.
At the final hearing, attendees will renew calls on the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an area-wide assessment of the proposed projects and to include a thorough evaluation of the dangers of snarled traffic, emergency response delays, threats to health and safety from toxic diesel and dangerous coal dust emissions, the risks of coal train derailments and marine spills, mercury emissions deposited in the Western U.S. from increased coal burning in Asia, climate impacts of additional coal development and costs to local businesses surrounding the rail line, and those reliant upon it to maintain a thriving business.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
“Coal is a crime.” Succinctly put by the environmental lawyer and anti-coal advocate John F. Kennedy Jr. this week in Portland where hundreds rallied against proposals to bring mile-long coal trains from the Midwest to Pacific Northwest ports for export to Asia, mainly China.
Kennedy, president of the Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for the National Resources Defense Council, said that the half-dozen or so pending proposals in the PNW will lead to political corruption and environmental damage, while the actual number of jobs created will be minimal. In addition King Coal’s influence would “seep” into the Oregon and Washington state legislatures, buying legislators who would otherwise vote against the proposal with campaign money and the promise of jobs.
“It’s going to end up leaving Portland with a legacy of pollution, poison and corruption,” Kennedy said.
Environmentalists say that the dust emitted from trains hauling tens of millions of tons of coal would pollute the proposed routes while opening the door to further environmental damage from its use in Asia.
Kennedy said the U.S. believes it can export the environmental problems from coal, but it will find that mercury from its use in Asia washes up on the Pacific shore while acidifying the ocean.
“Anybody who touches coal gets poisoned by it,” said Kennedy,”You don’t just get sick. It poisons democracy, it poisons communities, it poisons values.”
And that’s why coal is a crime that should not be exported overseas or allowed to pass through this region’s communities for the sake of a few jobs. “We’ve got lots of better sources for jobs,” Kennedy said. “If you were really interested in jobs, let’s build wind farms, let’s build solar plants. Let’s use the marketplace to incentivize good behavior.”
Thank you Robert Jr. – somewhere a proud father is smiling. The father who said: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
[Image: coal trains in Kansas by colin_n via Flickr]