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Tell the Army Corps of Engineers: We Want a Full Assessment of All the Impacts of Coal Exports

On June 17, the Army Corps of Engineers decided not to conduct a full assessment of all the impacts of coal exports. This blind eye to the public will underscores the power of the coal industry in DC, and gives even more reason for our state leaders like Governor Inslee and the agencies he leads to do everything in their power to stop coal exports. Fortunately, through our pressure to the Army Corps demanding this comprehensive review, we have built an unprecedented amount of power in our communities around the region that give our state leadership the backing to act boldly.

Governor Inslee must ensure his state agencies conduct the broadest possible analysis of the cumulative impacts of the coal export proposals through the State Environmental Protection Act process. Communities like Spokane, those along the Columbia River Gorge, and Southwest Washington that would bear the brunt of multiple projects should be especially outraged that the cumulative impacts on them are being left out.

The coal industry’s fortress of power is in Washington DC - that's where they were able to keep the Army Corps of Engineers from answering critical questions about the fates of our communities. Now, it's up to us to dismantle that fortress of power through our continued local organizing.

Our communities, public officials, activists, health care professionals, small businesses, Tribes -- thousands of people from across the Northwest have come together to say the cost of coal export is too high -- the impacts to our health, safety, environment, and local economies would cause irreparable harm. We are counting on Governor Inslee to stand up for our communities and ensure these impacts are studied and our questions answered before these projects move forward. It is only fair to have a full accounting of the costs of coal so informed decisions can be made.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?—WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR CALLING ON GOVERNOR INSLEE TO DO WHAT DC REFUSES TO DO!

Express your frustration at being ignored by the Army Corps. Say that it is more important than ever that he stand up to the coal industry. Governor Inslee must ensure his state agencies conduct the broadest possible analysis of the cumulative impacts of the coal export proposals through the State Environmental Protection Act process. Communities like Spokane that would bear the brunt of any and all the projects should be especially outraged that the cumulative impacts on them are being left out.

TALKING POINTS:

It's up to us to keep up the fight in our Northwest communities. Together we've successfully terminated three of the six coal export proposals, and our continued local efforts are the recipe to stopping the last three.

Although the Army Corps will conduct an Environmental Impact Statement for the Cherry Point and Longview terminal proposals in Washington, it is turning a blind eye to the law by announcing it will not study some of the greatest threats concerning Northwest families and leaders. These threats include :

  • Rail traffic through our communities and its impact on our public safety, emergency response times, and local economy v Effects on water and air of coal mining Safety threats to Puget Sound, the Columbia River and our coasts of shipping coal to Asia
  • Climate and mercury air pollution from burning this coal in Asia, which makes its way back to Northwest
  • As the Army Corps shirks its duty to provide Washington with a robust study of threats, it's up to Governor Inslee to make sure our Washington agencies thoroughly study every threat the Corps has missed. Washington families deserve to have all the facts before determining the future of these proposals.
  • An area-wide EIS is more responsible, economically efficient and most importantly the right thing to do. The Army Corps' decision has left Washington and Oregon communities vulnerable to decisions made by BIG COAL.

 

Where to Send Your Letter to the Editor:

Seattle Times: opinion@seattletimes.com

The Everett Herald: letters@heraldnet.com

The Northern Light: editor@thenorthernlight.com

Bellingham Herald: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/submit-letter/

Skagit Valley Herald: https://goskagit-dot-com.bloxcms.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/ Stanwood

Camano News: newsroom@scnews.com Marysville Globe: http://www.marysvilleglobe.com/forms/letter_to_editor/?contentPath=%2Fopinion%2Fletters&contentID=27601469

The Olympian: http://www.theolympian.com/letters/ The Columbian: http://www.columbian.com/lettertotheeditor/

Tacoma News Tribune: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/letters/submit/

The Spokesman Review: http://www.spokesman.com/letters/submit/

FAQ

  1. Does this mean feds have made their decision? The scoping process is still under way on Cherry Point and Longview. While the Army Corps is turning a blind eye, other “sister” federal agencies and state agencies have noted the need for broad comprehensive review, but the Corps going off on its own. A site specific EIS could still be granted at the Port of Morrow by the Army Corps. If the federal agencies will not hold coal companies accountable in DC, then we must continue to demand more at the state level.
  2. What does this mean for consideration of climate impacts? Other federal agencies already consider climate change impacts under NEPA; the Corps’ position is an outlier. Washington agencies can still consider climate change impacts under SEPA. We remain hopeful that Ecology will follow their guidance, and the other co-leading agencies will respond to the voices of thousands of Northwesterners to include as broad and thorough an analysis as possible for their EIS, including climate impacts.
  3.  Next steps? EIS processes continue for Cherry Point and Longview, and we keep pushing for complete review in those forums. Unfortunately, Oregon has no SEPA that requires an EIS. We are still calling on the Army Corps to conduct a full EIS at the Port of Morrow, and ensure that state permits do not proceed given the lack of such an analysis. We need full review of all impacts of these terminals because can’t trust them - Ambre Energy, the developer at the Port of Morrow, was the company that blatantly lied to local electeds and residents about the volume of their project proposal.