Six new terminals are proposed in Washington and Oregon to move coal from the Rockies to Asian markets.
The coal would travel by train through Washington and Oregon to get to those terminals. The Seattle city council will vote Tuesday on a resolution opposing coal exports through Washington.
If a coal export terminal is built north of Bellingham, Washington that could mean up to 9 more trains a day moving along the Columbia River Gorge and up the I-5 corridor.
Seattle is the largest city on the train route. The city council is set to vote on a resolution against exporting coal via Washington State.
The resolution outlines the council’s concerns about what coal export terminals and coal trains will mean for the region.
Councilmember Mike O’Brien sponsored the resolution.
“The city has a responsibility, both for the local health and environmental impacts of these coal trains coming through the city and also to our commitment to fight climate change to prevent this whole new industry from developing, this coal export industry,” says O'Brien.
The resolution has broad support from other councilmembers… and even mayor Mike McGinn has weighed in on the coal issue.
“This is an idea that does not have merit and I don’t think it makes sense for us to be exporting coal to China,” says McGinn.
Cities and towns in Washington, Oregon Idaho and Montana have voiced similar concerns over the impacts of increased coal transportation through the region.
The governors of both Oregon and Washington have called for a comprehensive review of the regional environmental impacts before any new coal terminals are built in the Northwest.
The governors of Montana and Wyoming – the states where the coal is mined – say that coal should be viewed as a commodity - just like soy or wheat.