Thousands Protest Against Coal Export in Seattle

Waterkeepers attend a public hearing about a proposed coal export terminal in Seattle, which would be constructed in an area next to an aquatic reserve.

Waterkeepers from around the Northwest are opposing the transport of coal and the construction of the terminals. In Seattle, Waterkeeper Alliance National Director Pete Nichols joined local Waterkeeper programs and attended the hearing in order to represent the dozens of other Waterkeepers across the U.S. and Asia that oppose coal exports.

Thousands attended the final public hearing to weigh in on a plan to build the largest of five coal terminals, which have been proposed in Washington and Oregon. The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal would be constructed in a wetland area adjacent to a critically important aquatic reserve and would receive and export 48-54 million tons of coal each year.

“This coal terminal is being sold to residents of the area as a job creator. The reality is that the impacts on watersheds along the railroad right-of-way, on Cherry Point itself, on crab and salmon fishing jobs, on tourism and recreation jobs, on the reputation of the area, all combine to make Gateway Pacific Terminal a water-polluting, taxpayer-subsidized job killer. The sole reason the proposal exists is for investors in Peabody, Goldman Sachs, BNSF Railway, and SSA Marine to make a fortune from federally-owned coal by shipping it to Asian countries,” stated Chris Wilke, executive director, Puget Soundkeeper.

“If coal exports are allowed from any port in the Pacific Northwest, it will significantly accelerate the deadly effects of climate change in the name of profit for corporate shareholders. Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeepers from China, India, Idaho, Washington and Oregon oppose these proposals and will do everything we can to defeat them,” added Pete Nichols, national director of the Waterkeeper Alliance.