Northwest opposition to coal exporting “unprecedented” – Crosscut

This Nov 12, 2012 Crosscut article is the culmination of nearly two years of expanding the debate to much more than jobs vs the environment.  We set out to make these scoping meetings a forum to amplify our broad base messaging and to make coal exports the biggest environmental movement in Washington State history.   We have only had three of the seven scheduled hearing and we are already meeting that goal.

– Robin Everett, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign and the Power Past Coal Coalition.
Some choice excerpts:

  • It is being called “unprecedented” but it seems to be rolling out as its authors had intended, perhaps the biggest experiment in environmental democracy the Northwest has ever seen.
  • Speakers overwhelmingly don’t want the terminal, fearing environmental consequences and taxpayer burdens to alleviate the problems brought by added rail and ship traffic. The opposition speakers ranged from Native American leaders to retired scientists, organic farmers, commercial fishermen and birders.
  • SSA and its industry supporters were largely absent from the hearings.
  • It may more closely resemble an aboveground Keystone pipeline — coal trains would cross four or five states and any impact on Salish Sea marine life could affect two nations.
  • The size of the turnouts and the breadth and passion of the speakers has already caused a schedule change. A Seattle hearing, set for Nov. 13 at North Seattle Community College, has been moved to Dec. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, a much larger venue.
  • We discussed the process with Perry of the Corps, Tyler Schroeder of Whatcom County and Jeannie Summerhays, who partnered with Alice Kelly for Ecology. It was Summerhays who suggested “unprecedented” to describe this scoping exercise, and Perry and Schroeder agreed.
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