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Shipping proposal fuels coal pollution

Peabody Coal wants to make Whatcom County home to a port exporting as much as 48 million tons of coal per year, from mines in Montana to the furnaces of China. It's a recipe that will fuel climate change and force harmful coal dust onto people and wildlife.

Coal shipping facility in Mississippi.
Coal shipping facility in Mississippi.

Coal mining may have died out in Bellingham 60 years ago, but as of 2011, Peabody Coal wants to make Whatcom County home to a port exporting as much as 48 million tons of coal per year, from mines in Montana to the furnaces of China and the Pacific Rim.

What you can do locally? Visit Re-Sources, who are taking action against SSA Marine for starting work illegally on the proposed Cherry Point terminal, violating the Clean Water Act.

Sound like a bad idea for Washington's people and wildlife? Here's why (read more from Climate Solutions):

  • Significant contribution to climate change: 48 million tons of coal burned in China, means over 86 million tons of global warming pollution a year contributing to climate change.
  • Degradation of Puget Sound: According to the public documents of project proponents, they intend to fill-in 141 acres of wetlands, citing possible impacts on twelve species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (bull trout, marbled murrelet, Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, Coho salmon, humpback whale, orcas, steller sea lion, leatherback sea turtle, bocaccio, canary rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish). The site is directly in the path of a once robust herring grounds for Cherry Point herring, primary food source for endangered spring Chinook, once themselves the primary food source for imperiled orcas in Puget Sound.
  • Coal dust – lots of it:  According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), coal dust has been shown to cause bronchitis, emphysema, and black lung disease.

  • Trains and their noise: Moving 48 million tons of coal per year would mean an additional eight to nine, mile-and-a-half long coal trains rolling through Bellingham’s waterfront every day.

  • A wrench in Bellingham’s waterfront vision: The noise, pollution and traffic congestion from mile-long coal trains rolling through Bellingham’s waterfront could undermine the city’s $2 billion Waterfront Redevelopment Project, which seeks to attract new investors, businesses and residents willing to pay premium prices for condominiums, office space and marina slips along Bellingham’s waterfront.

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