www.coaltrainfacts.org will soon become an online archive: as of September, 2013, we will no longer be updating information, accepting donations or conducting business. CTF has been an independently financed, volunteer-driven effort. I, the primary volunteer, now have other projects to tend. If necessary, CTF will become active again.
Our purpose has been to provide the best information possible regarding west coast coal export, in particular the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, to citizens, organizations, journalists and decision-makers.Pertinent information is now widely available. The issue of exporting fossil fuels via West Coast ports has begun to command national attention. Ongoing studies, news updates, articles and action alerts about various proposed coal export facilities on both sides of the US/CDN border can be found at the websites of various involved organizations. Please see coaltrainfacts.org/links.The Washington State Department of Ecology has committed to a broadly scoped Environmental Impact Statement, including, and I quote here from www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2013/197.html:
- A detailed assessment of rail transportation on other representative communities in Washington and a general analysis of out-of-state rail impacts.
- An assessment of how the project would affect human health in Washington.
- A general assessment of cargo-ship impacts beyond Washington waters.
- An evaluation and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions of end-use coal combustion.
- As co-leads of the EIS, Whatcom County and the Army Corps of Engineers will work with Ecology in assessing additional impacts.coaltrainfacts.org does not tell people what to think; rather, we trust readers to come to their own, well-informed opinions. We encourage citizens to participate in whatever governmental processes may be available to them. We think communities should be involved in decisions regarding their own futures. However, I will take this opportunity to express my own personal (unsurprising) opinions:
- coaltrainfacts.org has focused on regional coal export because of the imminent and long-term threats posed by such proposals, but really, the issue is more complex.
- Increasingly, there are plans and proposals to ship fossil fuels out of the Salish Sea region.
- Coal is only one of these fossil fuels, and because it is so visibly noxious, it is likely the most easily defeated. We need to become more aware of how our own complex energy needs are connected to tar sands, to fracking, to disparate means of fossil fuel extraction and combustion. We need to invest in a healthy regional identity and in sustainable energy systems.
- Transportation issues need to be given their due: regardless of what’s being transported, we need to look at how we move goods across land and across sea. Heavy traffic of any kind requires infrastructure, makes noise, creates potential traffic tangles, and emits physical pollutions.
- There is no single means to solve these problems. There is no single message, or single right answer. There is, however, great common cause, and the more we exercise our democratic processes, our community rights and individual responsibilities, the stronger our democracy becomes.
Thank you to Nate Melanson, our web administrator, to the CTF board members and to all who have helped along the way. Thank you, readers, for your interest in coal export issues, in public health, in the environment, in quality of life, in community. It has been a pleasure to work alongside all of you.
Julie Trimingham, Editor