Ask a political organizer in Whatcom County, and it trends that they will tell you about how often they hear voters ask about the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point, right outside of Bellingham. They get frustrated. Train tracks cut right through Bellingham, and run along next to local businesses. Sit for a few hours at a Bellingham restaurant/brewery, and multiple trains will come by to stifle conversation in the time it takes for the train to go about their self-assured route.
We have already covered some of the signs of opposition to the proposed coal terminal. Bellingham isn’t alone in its opposition, and many cities have expressed opposition or concern, including Seattle. This opposition has come before the agencies conducting the study about the impacts of the coal terminal have even figured out what exactly they’re going to be studying yet. But Cherry Point isn’t the only coal terminal proposed. Six coal terminals have been proposed in Washington and Oregon.
At least, until last week.
Last Tuesday, Florida-based company RailAmerica announced that it was no longer pursuing a coal export terminal in Grays Harbor. The reasoning given was that another company was interested in shipping something other than coal, and this operation would actually start running quicker than the time it would take to build a coal terminal. The decision gives greater credence to the reasoning that it might better economically for companies to ship inventory other than small, black rocks that contribute to climate change.
RailAmerica giving up on the Grays Harbor terminal is a cause for celebration for the those who have taken a stand against coal. Showing that there are better and faster ways to generate economic activity in the region will help sway those who believe that exporting coal is the only way to create jobs.
One down, five to go. Five coal terminals is still a lot to worry about.