coal trains

AP Photo

Lawmakers are expressing concerns over an updated report outlining the combined impacts of coal and oil trains that would roll through the Northwest if plans for export terminals move forward.

AP Photo

Seattle is on its way to joining Spokane and Bellingham in demanding tougher scrutiny of oil trains traveling through the city. A resolution that would restrict oil shipments until further review has passed out of a city council committee, and is scheduled for a vote before the full council on Monday.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Environmentalists are celebrating an apparent victory in Whatcom County where controversy over a proposed coal terminal seems to have tipped the balance of power.

Four candidates backed by the Seattle-based Washington Conservation Voters appear to be winning. They are incumbents Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and challengers Barry Buchanan and Rud Browne.

Erin Hennessey photo / KPLU News

Scoping hearings begin tomorrow on a proposed coal export terminal in Longview, near the Columbia River.  It’s one of two Washington terminals that would ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asia.

Columbia River Tribes Oppose Plan for Coal Trains

Sep 4, 2013

With coal use in decline in the U.S., mining companies have found a steady revenue stream in overseas markets.

But to get it there requires a long journey by train and barge to export terminals along the Columbia River and in Puget Sound. That’s a problem, according to environmentalists and tribes who are calling for more impact studies.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Environmentalists are applauding the state Department of Ecology, which announced it will conduct an extensive review of the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

The state Department of Ecology will undertake a 2-year statewide environmental study of exporting coal through a terminal north of Seattle, officials announced Wednesday.

Meanwhile, as previously announced, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Whatcom County will study the local impact of coal exports through the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, officials announced.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dealt a big blow to environmental groups fighting proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest.

During testimony before Congress, an official with the agency said the Corps is not planning a broad environmental study on the impact of coal exports, meaning the proposed terminals' effects on climate change won’t be considered during the review process.

The debate over proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest is heating up again after the governors of Washington and Oregon sent a letter to the White house on the issue.

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU News

It was one of the biggest outpourings of environmental activism that Seattle has seen since the WTO protests more than a decade ago.

At Freeway Park, a giant balloon shaped like an asthma inhaler floated above a sea of red shirts and banners from the Sierra Club. There was also a giant salmon puppet accompanied by schools of ailing herring and a sad-looking polar bear. And a white-haired lady dressed like Santa held a sign that said, "SAVE MY NORTH POLE." 

railsr4me / flickr

Seattle is bracing for a big hearing.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out Thursday for a chance to testify about the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham.

Paul Anderson

Environmental activists are gathering in Bellingham for a big rally tomorrow. They’re trying to stop construction on a proposed shipping terminal at Cherry Point. It would handle millions of tons of coal from western states, to be used as a power source in China.

Courtesy NWF

More voices are chiming in on the debate over proposed coal terminals in the Northwest. A new report adds sports fishermen and tribes to the opposition. It comes less than a week after proponents launched a campaign touting the benefits coal exports could bring.

The Associated Press

The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed a resolution opposing the development of coal-export terminals in Washington state over concerns about increased train traffic and potential harm to health and the environment.

Tuesday's vote comes as the federal government is reviewing the first of at least six port facilities proposed in Washington and Oregon to ship coal from the Powder River basin of Montana and Wyoming to thirsty markets in Asia.

The Associated Press

For some it’s the next big source of high-wage jobs; for others, an environmental nightmare: At least 9 trains a day could soon rumble through Seattle, carrying coal to export terminals in Washington and Oregon.

Cities from Missoula, Mont., to Edmonds have passed resolutions that call the idea into question. Seattle is now poised to join them with one of its own.

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