A group of 15 city, tribal, county and state officials are joining together to oppose exporting coal from Western Washington.
The group is fighting the planned Gateway Pacific Terminal in Whatcom County, about two hours north of Seattle. Trains would carry the coal through the state to the Bellingham-area terminal to ship overseas. Trains already carry coal through Washington for export from Vancouver, B.C.
City and tribal leaders fear the Gateway Pacific Terminal will increase the coal traffic, which would pollute the region with coal dust, clog traffic at rail crossings and support the increasing demand for carbon dioxide emitting fossil fuels overseas. Tribal groups also oppose the terminal, which is located on historic burial grounds of the Lummi tribe.
Lummi Councilmember Jay Julius said the area for the proposed terminal has already been damaged by bulldozing.
“Up to 20,000 of our people lived and died there,” Julius said.
Mayor Mike McGinn announced the group, called the Leadership Alliance Against Coal, at Golden Gardens April 23.
The terminal would bring an additional 18 trains, each train a mile long, through Seattle every day. The increased rail use would close rail crossings to car and bus traffic for three hours a day.
The alliance included officials from the Lummi, Swinomish and Tulalip tribes, councilmembers and mayors from 11 cities and counties, and state Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.