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Fishermen Come Out Against Coal Exports

Last week, the sizable ranks of coal export supporters were revealed in an Earthfix poll and an industry-funded PR campaign. Today the ranks of coal export opponents grew to include thousands of anglers and outdoors enthusiasts in the National Wildlife Federation and Association of Northwest Steelheaders.

The two groups released a report today detailing their reasons for opposing coal exports in the Pacific Northwest. The report includes testimonials from from Warm Springs tribal elder Bruce Jim, Tillamook fishing guide Bob Rees and Bellingham family doctor Frank James about the impact the six proposed coal export projects could have on traditional tribal foods, threatened and endangered fish and human health.

The report outlines numerous environmental reasons for opposing coal exports, including the impact coal mines have on wildlife, the air and water pollution from burning coal, the impact of coal dust on water quality and fish, the loss of fish habitat from export terminal development, and the potential for more invasive species from increased tanker traffic in the region’s waterways.

It cites an interesting study in British Columbia that exposed juvenile chinook to coal dust. The 1997 study found the polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in coal dust affect genes in the fish, but concluded that more study was needed. EarthFix has a story about a scientist studying the impact of PAHs on other fish.

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