Eds note: I meant to post this last Friday but didn't because, well.
Hundreds of protestors gathered at the Seattle Convention Center before last Thursday's packed public hearing on the proposed coal terminal outside of Bellingham, Washington. State and federal agencies are nearing the end of a four-month public comment period on the proposal before drafting their preliminary Environmental Impact Statement, which will seek to evaluate the proposal from a host of health, environmental, and economic angles (among others). The comment period closes on January 21; You can submit online comments here.
Now here's a melange of pictures and quotes from last Thursday's events:
"How many of you know where your great-great-great grandparents are buried?" Lummi Nation spokesman Jay Jules asked the anti-coal crowd assembled in Freeway Park. "Cherry Point is flagged as a cemetery. That’s not oral history, that’s fact. That is our Jerusalem. That is our holy ground." Terminal contractors were issued a cease and desist order in June 2011 for bulldozing Lummi burial grounds without permits. "A criminal action has taken place," Jules adds. "We expect the state to uphold their laws [and prosecute]."
"We’re concerned about increased air pollution and the affects it can have on patients," said Dr. Melissa Weakland, speaking on behalf of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians. "We're concerned about delays in emergency response time, about coal dust, which contains heavy metals like arsenic and lead that can leech into the groundwater. It can cause pulmonary problems and increased risks of cancer. Many health specifics in this proposal are left unanswered."
Mel Sheldon, Tulalip Tribe: "We do not support an industry that will damage our economy or cultural heritage, or infringe on our fishing, hunting, and treaty rights. We say 'Hell no' to this project!"
"I'm here speaking on behalf of dozens and dozens of state officials who’ve all called for a comprehensive, cumulative impacts analysis to this proposal," testified Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36) at the hearing. "That means a thorough, data driven analysis of the economic externalities of this proposal—the transportation, the health, the safety impacts that our communities will face. We’re asking you to acknowledge that most communities don’t have the resources to do their own economic analysis. We’re asking the state government to provide an analysis, a role, that allows us to have the kind of access to information that Seattle will have. It’s vital for us. It’s critical that this EIS be thorough, be data driven, and recognize the profound implications on our quality of life."
"I’m disappointed in Gregoire and Inslee," said Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien, who's a former chapter chairman of the Cascade Sierra Club. "Both are devout champions of the environment; You can’t do that and stay silent on coal exports."
"As Herman Melville once said, 'All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad,'" quoted a Ballard fisherman whose name I didn't catch (he's in the background of the above photo, far right). "I've been a fisherman for 40 years and I can tell you, the deadliest catch of all is ocean acidification. Anyone who claims that this massive coal project is about jobs had better learn to subtract. We have 15,000 fishery jobs in Puget Sound; now our marine livelihoods are at stake. A job is not necessarily a livelihood. We're weighing jobs based on the one-time exploitation of a fossil fuel versus livelihoods based on a sustainable resource. We have a moral obligation to reject this proposal."
"We share a vision for a better future," said KC Executive Dow Constantine. "Our vision doesn’t include 18 trains a day pulling those coal cars through the heart of Washington. This isn’t just a regional issue, it’s a global issue and a generational issue. In Washington, we have done away with coal fired plants, but shipping overseas will overwhelm the gains we’ve made in WA. We can do better."
"Closed the coal plant in Centralia/fa la la la la, la la la la/Solar power will never fail ya/fa la la la la, la la la la/We have lots of greener choices/fa la la la la, la la la la/Stop the coal and raise our voices/fa la la la la, la la la la."