Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn dropped by the Stranger offices today to talk about many things, including... coal trains! As Goldy wrote not long ago:
Under ambitious plans to massively increase exports to China from the Powder River Basin coalfields of Montana and Northern Wyoming, 18 additional coal trains a day would rumble through the city [of Seattle] on their way to SSA Marine's proposed new coal export terminal at Cherry Point, just north of Bellingham, scheduled to begin operations as soon as 2015. Traveling at an average speed of 35 miles per hour through Seattle's busy port district, these 125-car, mile-and-a-half-long trains would block traffic at Lander, Horton, Holgate, and Spokane Streets 18 times a day for six to seven minutes at a time.
Asked about the proposal, McGinn told us: “I believe the Port needs to join the city in trying to prevent the environmental, health, and economic harms that will be caused by those coal trains, and I hope that every one of our legislators will join the city and the council on this... It’s time."
Visibly riled up about the idea of coal trains rolling through town, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to go off on the subject, the mayor continued: “This makes no sense. From any metric this makes zero sense. The only metric this makes sense from is the metric of coal companies and coal company executives.”
During the course of this particular discussion McGinn repeated the phrase "the Port needs to join the city" three times.
I asked McGinn if his strong feelings have led him to pick a side in the 36th District legislative race—in which Democratic candidate Noel Frame is currently alleging that Democratic candidate (and Port Commissioner) Gael Tarleton is soft on coal trains. McGinn declined to answer that question. More on the Frame-Tarleton fisticuffs soon.