Editor’s Note: Should coal from Wyoming and Montana be transported through the Pacific Northwest and shipped to Asia? In our multimedia project, “Voices of Coal,” we bring you nine diverse perspectives from people across the region with a stake in that debate. Today’s installment: The tribal fisherman.
Jay Julius is a fisherman and a member of the Lummi Nation tribal council. Lummi people have lived on the shores of Puget Sound north of Bellingham for thousands of years. Not far from their reservation lies Cherry Point, the proposed site for the largest coal export terminal in North America.
In the waters off of Cherry Point, Lummi fishers harvest halibut, salmon, herring, crab and shellfish. Julius worries that the increased coal tanker traffic would harm the tribe’s ability to exercise its treaty-guaranteed rights to harvest these fish and shellfish.
“One accident inside the Salish Sea and my way of life is gone,” Julius says.
If the terminal is built, he says, it could also destroy underwater archaeological sites and upland burial grounds.
Coal By The Numbers
- If the Gateway Pacific Terminal is built at Cherry Point it’s expected at full capacity to annually export 48 million tons of coal.
- At full capacity, 487 ocean-going vessels would travel through Puget Sound each year carrying coal from Cherry Point to Asia.
- 57 tribes have expressed strong concerns about the environmental effects of up to five coal export terminals.
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