The Lummi Tribal reservation lies to the North of Bellingham, very close to the proposed site of a large coal export terminal. On Friday the tribe is expected to announce their opposition to the facility.
The Gateway Pacific Terminal, if it’s built, could be the largest coal export facility on the west coast. The Lummi Tribe would be it’s nearest Native American neighbors. Other tribes in the Northwest have come out in opposition to exporting coal but the Lummi have been quiet about the issue until now.
The tribe is holding a gathering on the reservation to announce their opposition with traditional canoes, speeches and a blessing of the water ceremony.
Jewell James is a tribal member and an advocate for the tribes treaty rights.
James: “We have a duty to the world. All of us want cheap energy but we’re living in an era where the world’s heating up. Water is becoming scarce and we’re living in an environment that’s been destroyed. What does that say to our children and grandchildren.
The tribe worries that coal dust and diesel exhaust from the facility could harm salmon and herring habitat. They also claim the facility could destroy underwater archeological sights and upland burial grounds.
Copyright 2012 KUOW