Letter to the Editor

I know that this is not exactly what we had discussed writing.  On the other hand, it is what I know best.  Hopefully different approaches to the same subject will be effective.

Orcas in Danger

The proposed increase in coal trains along the Washington coast is an accident waiting to happen.  The increase in train and shipping traffic drastically increases the risk of a coal spill.  A spill would wipe out the local Orca pods and endanger the fisheries in Washington waters.   Coal companies have decreasing markets in the US as corporations change to cleaner natural gas and other alternatives.  Given that local markets are no longer viable, the proposed plan is for coal stripped mined in Wyoming to be shipped to China.  The additional 18 trains/day would add diesel exhaust to our air and pollute our water.  A spill of coal in the sound would have immediate impacts on the health of the sound and impact fisheries, tourism and the quality of life for both people and wildlife.  The proposed shipping terminal at Cherry Point in Bellingham would fill 131 acres of wetlands where herring feed.  Chinook Salmon are the primary food for Orcas.   We are already polluting Puget Sound so that Orcas have high levels of toxins.  A decrease in food and an increase in pollutants would certainly harm our local Orca population.  A spill of the coal would wipe them out entirely.

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