Illegal Road Built Through Protected Wetlands for Unapproved $500 Million Coal Terminal


Okay, there's a lot going on in this one. A lot of ins, a lot of outs, and a multimillion dollar coal terminal that, once approved, would start shipping tons of the stuff overseas to China. Needless to say, many folks have a problem with that prospect alone. But many more have a problem with the fact that SSA Marine got so excited about the prospect of all that coal shippin' that they went ahead and built a miles-long road through protected wetlands without a permit. The KING5 story does a good job of relaying the details, and why it has plenty of people irked.

But it's also a useful example of the corporate culture that persists in much the fossil fuel industry; and it highlights the aura of inevitability that permeates such projects. The underlying issue -- that we're about to start shipping loads of coal to China to feed its breakneck industrial expansion, at the expense of both the global climate and the local environment -- has caused a stir amongst environmentalist and some in the local community. But the powerful interests that serve to profit from such a terminal are so certain that this terminal will be built that they're already paving the road that will lead to the construction site.

And SSA Marine hasn't even applied for a permit to construct the plant itself yet.

The city officials and local environmentalists complain, rightfully, about the company's hubris, and say that a simple "slap on the wrist" won't suffice in the situation. But of course that's all that will happen here. A penalty, a minor public shaming. a fine. That's all. At the end of the day, everyone knows that it will take a hell of a fight to stop this terminal from becoming a reality.

Tags: Coal | United States