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April 22, 3:47 PM click here to comment > 17

New coalition of regional leaders formed to oppose coal exports

Leaders of city governments and tribal nations across the Pacific Northwest today announced the formation of a new coalition to oppose coal trains and coal exports. The Leadership Alliance Against Coal will work together to raise awareness about the damaging economic, cultural, and health impacts of coal trains and coal exports, as well as take action to protect their communities. mayor coal alliance 01 sm

“These coal trains threaten the health of our communities, the strength of our economies, and the environmental and cultural heritage we share,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “We will stand together to stop the coal trains.”

“For thousands of years Washington State tribes have fought to protect all that is important for those who call this great state home. We can no longer allow industry and business to pollute our water and land; we as leaders need to protect our treaty resources, our economies, and the human health of our citizens and neighbors,” said Brian Cladoosby, Chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.

The Leadership Alliance Against Coal grew out of conversations between leaders from cities and tribal nations concerned about the impact of coal trains on their communities. Alliance members are calling for agencies to work together to explore the impacts on the health of people living near the rail tracks and the coal terminals. They urge state and federal agencies to deny permits for coal export proposals, as their proposed benefits do not outweigh the likely costs to local economies, health, natural environment, and cultural resources.mayor coal alliance 03 sm

The City of Seattle conducted a study that found coal trains could add an additional two hours of gate downtime at major street crossings of the railway by 2025. Similar delays are likely in cities large and small along the proposed route of these trains.

Tribes are concerned that coal trains and the proposed coal terminals would violate their treaty rights and damage their cultural heritage, as well as cause economic and health impacts.

“The economic, environmental and health issues raised by this 19th Century proposal are below us as a city and a state,” said State Representative Reuven Carlyle. “We need to focus on high quality, innovative, entrepreneurial markets and ideas that lift us up – not unhealthy, dangerous commodities that assault our global economy.”

“The risks not only to our tribe can be devastating, but also to the entire region,” said Chairman Melvin Sheldon, Jr., of the Tulalip Tribes. “We’ve made substantial retail investments that depend heavily on quality of life. Tulalip supports job creation. We are one of the largest employers in Snohomish County and contribute to economic solvency in the Northwest. However, we do not support an industry such as this one that we believe will damage our natural and cultural resources or diminish existing jobs in our region.”

“This increased rail traffic will have a significant impact on our local community by among other things increasing traffic congestion, creating a higher risk of accidents, decreasing our ability to provide effective emergency response times, impacting local commerce, and interfering with local truck freight delivery systems also affecting the local economy,” said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.

“The proposed coal trains pose a detriment to the health, economy, and quality of life of the people and communities I represent,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee. “I stand united with neighborhood, business, environmental, tribal, and government leaders in protecting the prosperity and beauty of our state by opposing coal trains.”

“The City of Spokane cannot afford to have additional coal trains coming through that disrupt truck routes, emergency services and the health of our citizens,” said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart. “In addition we must address climate change as elected leaders and must take action. I am proud to be part of the Leadership Alliance and look forward to working with Tribal and elected leaders across the state to represent our communities.”

“The citizens of Edmonds, like so many in our region, are committed to protecting our environment, improving our public health and safety, and building our economy. Coal trains run counter to every one of these important goals,” said Edmonds City Councilmember Strom Peterson.

“Washington State has been a national leader in creating clean-energy technologies and jobs that promote sustainable global economic development. Coal exports promote damaging and unsustainable energy programs. Shoreline stands in opposition to the proposed coal export terminals and the environmental, health and economic damage that will ultimately result,” said Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan.

“The City of Bainbridge Island supports economic growth that does not jeopardize Washington State’s commitment to fight the serious impacts of climate change,” said Bainbridge Island Mayor Steve Bonkowski, on behalf of the City Council. “The City urges the Governor and the Legislature to work on a comprehensive policy opposing coal export terminals in Washington State.”

“What is most concerning to me are the affects and impacts created by increased coal export put upon down-line communities like ours and we are just expected to take it,” said Sumner City Councilmember Nancy Dumas. “There is zero direct benefit for pass through communities like ours, yet our taxpayers are expected to bear the burden of expense, responsibility and liability that the increase in coal train traffic bisecting and disrupting our towns will bring.”

“On Earth Day, the city also introduced our Climate Action Plan, the city’s roadmap to be carbon neutral by 2050. Despite all our efforts to invest in energy efficient homes and an active transportation system, we will not achieve our climate goals if we allow a massive expansion of coal exports through our community,” said Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “I’m proud to stand united with cities and tribes to oppose coal exports and promote a climate friendly future.”

Click here for a list of members of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal.

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Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance

Comments

Comment from Donna
Time April 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Thank you for taking a strong position in support of our communities, nations, and earth!

Comment from Sharon Abreu
Time April 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Thank you!! This is the quality of leadership needed in the 21st century.

Pingback from Bellingham’s Coal Train Blues: An Open Letter To Bellingham Mayor, Kelli Linville | Fish & Bicycles
Time April 23, 2013 at 11:57 am

[...] Bellingham, Washington, over a proposed coal shipping terminal just north of town, some great Earth Day news on the subject prompted me to write to Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville, to implore her to take a [...]

Comment from jade
Time April 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Thank you for understanding the environmental issues that coal industry entails. The Seattle area economy can prosper without a dark partner eating away at our lives.

Comment from Kathly
Time April 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

==========
THANK YOU!!!
==========

Is there an umbrella organization to accept supporter donations? I’m a Seattle resident, and like so many others, defeating the obscene coal train proposal is my top priority.

Comment from Liz Talley
Time April 25, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I attended the presentation at Golden Gardens on Earth Day. The presentations were extremely powerful and I believe our leaders are putting Burlington Northern RR, SSA Marine and coal companies on notice that there will never be a compromise on coal trains. They say not here, now now, not ever, and lawsuits will follow. I am so proud of these guys. Like if you agree!

Comment from Hal Glidden
Time April 27, 2013 at 10:11 am

Thank you for doing the right thing for the citizens of your state and the country.

Comment from Mary Ferm
Time April 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

The mercury contamination by Georgia Pacific will be expensive to clean up. We don’t need more sites like that one!

Comment from Irmgard Conley
Time April 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Thank You to all who have the Courage to step up and oppose these infinitely destructive plans!

Comment from Michael Wooten
Time April 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Please do whatever we can to get Congressman Rick Larsen on board with the no coal movement. He continues to support the terminals and the export of coal to Asia.

Comment from George
Time June 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Thank you for standing up for the people and standing against big coal. I just wish the commissioners of Cowlitz county and the city council of Longview had the same courage. I fear they are willing to sacrifice the health of Cowlitz county in their quest for a few tax dollars.

Pingback from View From the Helm Summer 2013 » Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
Time June 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm

[...] commercial fishermen, anglers, business leaders, parents, doctors, and tribal members as well a newly-formed alliance of municipal and tribal leaders.  The official EIS scoping process for Gateway Pacific alone has wrought over 124,000 comments- [...]

Comment from Mary
Time August 11, 2013 at 6:27 am

Best way to say it: ZERO BENEFIT. Sumner City Councilmember Nancy Dumas. “There is zero direct benefit for pass through communities like ours, yet our taxpayers are expected to bear the burden of expense, responsibility and liability that the increase in coal train traffic bisecting and disrupting our towns will bring.”

Pingback from The Sounder Newsletter Summer 2013 » Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
Time August 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm

[…] commercial fishermen, anglers, business leaders, parents, doctors, and tribal members as well a newly-formed alliance of municipal and tribal leaders.  The official EIS scoping process for Gateway Pacific alone has wrought over 124,000 comments- […]

Comment from Tammy
Time August 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm

The mayor doesn’t care for workers and taxpayers won’t mind if their taxes go up, so I guess I will forget about working and just go on welfare. You guys have lots of money, give me some!

Comment from Gabor Koszegvari
Time September 3, 2013 at 7:00 pm

NO COAL TRANSPORTATION!
Thank you!! This is the quality of leadership needed in the 21st century.
I am proud of our Mayor, I will stand against this coal business. I am watching, listening !
They should leave that coal underground,
EARTH IS ALREADY WARM ENOUGH !

Comment from Isileli Naitoko
Time September 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

Yeah i also agree with no COAL TRAIN.

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