I’m writing to express my concern about the Gateway Pacific Terminal proposed for north of Bellingham by Peabody Energy (Peabody Coal) and Seattle-based SSA Marine.
The negative impacts that coal trains and the burning of that coal would have on people, air, water, and local economies are not worth the relatively few jobs that might be created.
I’m concerned about enormous single-hulled tankers loaded with coal and diesel fuel navigating daily through the heavily-trafficked straits around our islands. These Capesize ships have the worst accident record in the industry and, unlike oil tankers, are not required to have a local pilot or tug escort. One oil spill could devastate our marine life and local businesses.
Pollution and health impacts aside, this coal terminal is a bad idea economically. We need to put on our 21st century thinking caps, envision and create the kind of energy-related jobs that will support local businesses and a healthy environment. Shipping millions of tons of coal around our islands to be burned in Asia is a poor jobs plan that ignores the challenges of pollution and climate change and passes on way too many costs to us, the taxpayers.
Now is the exact moment that we can make a difference. The Army Corps of Engineers is asking for comments on our concerns about negative impacts that this terminal could have on our health, environment and economy.
I urge people on Lopez to attend:
– a scoping comments workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 5-8 p.m. at the Lopez Community Center (dinner provided)
– the Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Hearing at Friday Harbor High School, 12-3 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 3. This is a Public Commenting Period to governmental agencies to review impacts, similar to commenting before permitting is done in the county.
Workshops will also be held on San Juan Island (Oct. 25, 12 p.m.) and Orcas (Oct. 25, 5 p.m).
Shuttles will be taking people from the FH ferry to FH High School on Nov. 3. It’s very important that we show up.
You can get more background information at www.powerpastcoal.org.