Nick Gier, Moscow
Bonner County Daily Bee 11/20/12
If the coal companies and their allies have their way, the nation’s largest coal terminal will be built just north of Bellingham, and 40 to 60 extra trains loaded with low-sulfur coal from southeastern Montana and Wyoming will pass through Sandpoint and Spokane.
The residents of Spokane will at least have a chance to have their concerns heard. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct a “scoping” hearing on December 4 from 3 to 7 pm at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. Activists all along various rail routes are demanding that the scope of the environmental impact review be “from mines to ports,” not just the terminals themselves.
The people of Sandpoint will have no official say in this dramatic increase in train traffic. As a result, on Saturday, November 17, activists from the region converged on Sandpoint to stage demonstrations, distribute information, and protest proposals for more coal trains and ports.
The activists engaged in nonviolent street theater in several high vehicle/pedestrian traffic areas in Sandpoint. Protesters formed a “train” with each carrying their own “coal car” created from painted two-dimensional cardboard covered with informational slogans.
We encourage the citizens of Sandpoint to speak out, to help stop any additional coal exports to China. Prevailing winds will bring the pollution right back to the Northwest and will contribute to global climate change. Trains 1.5-miles long will clog traffic, hinder emergency vehicles, cause hearing loss, and produce dangerous air pollution.
For more information please go to Four-State Coal Export Protests & Hearings.