The first debate between the leading candidates for Washington governor took place Tuesday in Spokane. The candidates were asked for their stance on the coal export issue. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn reports.
There are six ports in the Northwest considering building export facilities to bring coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asian markets. Half of those ports are in Washington.
At their first debate democrat Jay Inslee and republican Rob McKenna were each asked for their take on the coal export issue.
Both candidates called for a comprehensive review of each of the proposed terminals, within the context of larger regional impacts - like increased rail traffic and human and environmental health effects along the rail routes.
McKenna hammered the economic opportunities of exporting coal.
McKenna: "We’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of permanent high-paying jobs. If they can meet our state’s high environmental health and safety standards then why would they be discriminated against as opposed to some other economic development project?”
Inslee was a bit more tentative.
Jay Inslee “My view is we need to evaluate all of the jobs prospects, both plus or minus, before we make a decision. But let me suggest that this is a moment of truth for the state of WA and it is a question of whether or not we will embrace a future that can embrace the new system s of energy.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, neither candidate came right out and said whether they were for or against exporting coal through the state.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network