Public Meetings On Coal Exports Heat Up In Northwestern Washington

Nov 30, 2012

The environmental review process for the largest coal export terminal on the West Coast is underway. Public meetings are being held around the state to get feedback from citizens. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn was at the most recent hearing in Ferndale, Washington, which took place Thursday night.

About 1,000 people turned out wearing green T-shirts in support of coal exports and red in opposition – a sort of accidental Christmas display.

But the mood wasn’t festive. At times it was downright confrontational, as people took the microphone to voice their thoughts about the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, which could be built just a few miles from this site.

John Strong is a small business owner from Bellingham. He’s convinced the project can be built and operated responsibly. And he had this to say about the project’s doubters:

Strong: “You’re either incredibly naïve, sadly misinformed or possibly you’ve been living in a cave the last 50 years.”

Roughly three quarters of the speakers at this meeting were in support of the coal terminal – including several union representatives, local mayors and city councilmembers.

Gateway Pacific is one of 5 proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest.

There are more scoping meetings planned for Spokane, Seattle and Vancouver, Washington in December.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio