In early May 2012, police arrested 13 concerned British Colombia residents along with scientists, when they blocked four Wyoming coal export trains (350.org photo).
As the environmental impact statement (EIS) scoping period for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, Washington, draws to a close on January 21, and public comments on the Coyote Island Terminal in Boardman, Oregon, are long past due, federal, state, and county decision makers never provided public hearings in Idaho and Montana or a mine-to-port regional programmatic environmental analysis. Nonetheless, residents of the comparatively rural inland Northwest, especially near Powder River Basin coal strip mines and train routes through Montana population centers and along the railroad funnel between Sandpoint, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, will bear most of the adverse risks and consequences of domestic coal export to Asia, while Ambre Energy, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, SSA Marine, and other giant coal companies reap billions of dollars in profit on up to 160 million tons of coal per year, at taxpayers’ expense.
Pillaged public investments would support the required infrastructure and mitigate the predictable damages of this corporate onslaught. Each of the 40 to 60 additional coal trains per day, 1.5 miles long with their 125 cars, would spew toxic coal dust, diesel fumes, occasionally derailed loads, and incessant noise, disrupt local transportation, businesses, emergency responses, and economies, and degrade air and water quality, human and wildlife health, property values, and regional identity. Five proposed West Coast and Columbia River terminals with huge, open-air coal heaps, river barges through endangered species critical habitat, and over 950 immense, ocean-going, coal ships per year, crowding oil tankers through the tangled Salish Sea to Asian markets for combustion, would further compromise aquatic ecosystems and inhabitants and significantly exacerbate pollution and global climate change.
Between January 11 and 20, 2013, Blue Skies Campaign, Occupy Spokane, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide are staging four or more coal export solidarity actions at train track/roadside intersections in Moscow and Sandpoint, Idaho, Missoula and other cities across Montana, and Spokane, Washington. But we need your help to powerfully demonstrate our collective regional resistance to coal export schemes perpetrated by industry and government. Tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Surface Transportation Board, state and county regulatory agencies, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, not to mention the world’s largest private coal companies, that Northwesterners will not tolerate their dismissal of community concerns and environmental wellbeing so apparent in their purported public participation processes and mercenary ventures. Continue reading