NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

One of six proposed coal terminals in Washington and Oregon abandoned

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.

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One Ping

  1. […] Coal: “Last Tues­day, FL-based com­pa­ny Rail­Amer­i­ca announced that it was no longer pur­su­ing a coal export ter­mi­nal in Grays Har­bor. One down, five to go. Five coal ter­mi­nals is still a lot to wor­ry […]

    Ping from Links 8/23/12 « naked capitalism :: August 22nd, 2012 at 11:42 PM