Next week -- Sept. 17, to be exact -- starts off a series of public hearings about proposed coal export terminals in Washington State:
Longview: Sept. 17
Spokane: Sept. 25
Pasco: Oct. 1
Vancouver: Oct. 9
Tacoma: Oct. 17
Coal companies want to export 44 million tons of coal each year out of Longview, Washington, alone! Longview is one of three coal export terminals being proposed in the Northwest. If all of them were to be built, every year more than 100 million tons of coal would pass through communities from Montana all the way to the coast.
King Coal has its sights set on exporting coal strip-mined from the beautiful Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. This means shipping coal on a huge number of trains through communities in the Pacific Northwest every day, and then processing it at massive coal export facilities. When burned overseas, the coal hurts local communities, but, the pollution also blows back to our shores.
Thanks to tremendous activism from thousands of residents in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, the news is rapidly spreading that this shipment of up to 100 million metric tons of coal every year would risk public health via air and water pollution -- not to mention the massive contribution to climate disruption that burning this coal abroad would cause.
More than 10,000 people have attended public hearings so far, on top of the more than 120,000 comments submitted calling for extensive environmental review of these projects.
We've seen a diverse coalition of environmental groups, faith communities, public officials, ranchers, health professionals, businesses, Native Americans, and more come together to fight these proposals.
One powerful community standing up to Big Coal is the Lummi Nation. While people are gathering in Longview, Washington, others will be gathering in the Powder River Basin where the coal would be mined to say NO to coal exports. Starting September 18, leaders from the Lummi Nation will begin a journey to draw attention to the effects of the coal export proposals and the importance of upholding their treaty rights. These members of the Lummi Nation will travel 1,200 miles from the coal strip-mine sites in the Powder River Basin to the proposed coal terminal site at Cherry Point in Washington. They will be showing how connected the communities are along the route and conducting ceremonies and discussions, some public, some private.
The Lummi Nation has already made several strong statements against the plans:
"No deals, thank you," said Fran James, 88, a revered tribal elder called as a witness to the ceremony. "All of our elders have always told us: 'Take care of this place.'"
In a recent letter opposing the coal export terminals, the tribe stated that the terminals "would significantly degrade an already fragile and vulnerable crab, herring and salmon fishery, dealing a devastating blow to the economy of the fisher community."
The threats that come with exporting coal show how connected each of our communities are. Coal anywhere harms communities everywhere. We can stand together against Big Coal. Will you join us and thousands of others to say NO to coal exports? Please attend the coal export public hearing nearest you, submit a public comment, and help spread the word!