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Robert Hill conducts some of the coal trains that travel through the Northwest. To him, concerns about coal dust and noise from coal trains are overblown. He knows more coal will mean more jobs like his at BNSF Railway.
A new report in Oregon finds there's not enough industry data to say for sure what the health effects would be if trains begin to haul coal to export terminals in the Northwest.
Portland City Council has voted to join other regional cities that oppose coal-export trains rolling through the region. A hearing before the vote was well attended by a core group of Portland and Columbia Gorge residents who've been active in their opposition to coal-export expansions.
Portland is exploring its power to regulate the coal industry as the business looks to expand in the Northwest. If the city council passes a resolution currently under consideration, it would join the ranks of at least twenty local governments that have passed similar resolutions.
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire puts one long running environmental controversy to bed Friday. She’ll travel to Centralia to sign into law a phase out of coal-fired electricity generation in the state. But meanwhile, another coal controversy is heating up in another part of Washington.
The city of Portland has no power to restrict coal exports moving along railroad lines. The rail companies have their own right-of-way. But if Portland passes a proposed resolution, it would join the ranks of at least 20 local governments that have passed similar resolutions.
A proposed coal export terminal in Coos Bay, Ore., would route coal trains just 100 feet from Richard and Tonya Burkholder’s home and business. They say they would welcome the trains as part of an economic boost to their coastal community.
The Columbia River town of Camas, Wash. is succeeding at building a reputation as a tourist destination. But some residents worry their community could develop a new reputation: as a pass-through town for noisy, dusty coal trains.
It's Friday, and so it's time for another "News Roundtable." We'll look back at the news of the week with a panel of journalists, editors, and news watchers. We'll look at some of the stories that we didn't cover, and push forward some of the stories we already dug into. This week we're looking at:
Six different coal terminals are being proposed in the Pacific Northwest, from north of Bellingham to Grays Harbor to Coos Bay. The companies proposing the terminals hope to capitalize on the ever-increasing energy demands of China and India. Establishing terminals on the West Coast would potentially help expedite the process of getting coal that's mined in Montana and Wyoming into Asian markets. The terminals could mean a million dollar increase in revenue for a city like Hoquiam, WA, which is equivalent to one-third of that struggling city's operating budget. But the terminals also come with environmental and public health costs. EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn has been traveling around the Northwest visiting towns that could be future coal terminal sites. She's gathered the responses from community members, businesses and researchers.
EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn reports on a coal dust study scientists have begun in the Northwest to determine what affect coal by rail might have on the environment.
The EarthFix team has been looking into the many ways that proposed coal terminals would affect the lives and livelihoods of people in the Northwest. Reporter Bonnie Stewart's latest investigative piece focuses on what it would take for Northwest railways to be ready to accommodate new trains carrying coal to the proposed terminals.
New York-to-Music City transplant's biting critique of the Americana music business.
The oil train wreck that caused death and destruction in a small Canadian town has aroused new concern regarding oil transport throughout the Pacific Northwest. On Tuesday, this concern halted the decision of Port of Vancouver's vote on lease approval of a proposed crude oil terminal. Tuesday was also the day that hundreds of people showed up to hearings for the Morrow Pacific Project, a proposal to transport about 9 million tons of coal per year through the Pacific Northwest.
A coalition of Oregon community groups has created a report card that grades the Oregon legislature on its efforts to address racial inequity. It's issuing the report on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2012. In a legislature that includes only three people of color, how did the bills passed in 2011 affect communities of color? The report congratulates the legislature for passing several laws it says will improve racial equity, such as HB 2707, which lets youths charged with Measure 11 crimes be held in juvenile prison, rather than in the adult criminal justice system. But the report also highlights several bills that it says will increase institutional racism. The report says legislation that allows campus safety departments to turn into police departments could mean more drastic consequences if campus security racially profiles students — as any punishment would then be part of a student's criminal record. The racial equity report card also highlights a law that could make it easier to fast track industrial development projects in industrially zoned areas — which the report points out are more densely populated by people of color.
The planned Salmonberry Corridor would trace 86 miles from Banks to Tillamook, often following railroad lines.