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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

US Army Corps of Engineers Won't Consider Climate Change or Air Quality in Coal Port Decisions

Posted by on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 4:49 PM

This morning, Mayor Mike McGinn and Climate Solutions Policy Director KC Golden testified in the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Power Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce on the local impacts of the coal port terminal proposals to expand coal exports to China (a topic I cover extensively over here). Meanwhile, the Bellingham Herald reports this huge setback for environmentalists and politicians, like McGinn, who oppose coal ports in Washington and Oregon:

WASHINGTON - The U.S Army Corps of Engineers will not review the broader climate-change impacts of proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest, an agency official told Congress on Tuesday, June 18.

The much-anticipated decision is a significant victory for the supporters of three coal terminals in Washington and Oregon - including Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point - and a setback for environmentalists and state and local officials who oppose the projects.

... Moyer added that the Corps would not consider the impact of the transportation of coal by rail from mines to the ports on waterways and air quality - something that the governors of Washington and Oregon, environmental groups and Indian tribes had demanded.

Well, fuck.

Thanks to Slog tipper Jeff.


Comments (16) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
See, this is why Brazil is growing faster than we are.

All their studies include cradle-to-grave carbon impacts and measure various particulates as well.

Nothing wrong with deciding to pollute, just measure it and figure out what it costs us, so that we can make an informed economic decision.

Dead babies and more impacts from global warming have real impacts, as everyone on the Eastern Seaboard now realizes that isn't stuck on stupid.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 18, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
"We've got some serious concerns about how this will affect our region."

"We hear your concerns. We will ignore them and move forward."

That's some depressing shit.
Posted by tabski on June 18, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
So,what exactly IS the CoE going to assess?
Posted by boyd main on June 18, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Meh, so the USACE believes it doesn't have the scope to examine the overall environmental impacts; I see nothing in that statement that precludes any other body or agency - federal, state, or municipal - from doing so in their stead. Why are people making it sound like this is now a done deal?
Posted by COMTE on June 18, 2013 at 6:29 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 7
God bless the Army Corps of Engineers. Slash-n-burn environmental disregard and pork-barrel corruption in the name of public works since 1775.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on June 18, 2013 at 8:59 PM · Report this
south downtown 8
"like McGinn, who oppose coal ports in Washington and Oregon"

all the mayoral candidates oppose the coal trains.

Posted by south downtown on June 18, 2013 at 9:31 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
Pretty sure the Mayor of Coal Trains supports coal trains.

Just the people who actually live here don't want it.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 18, 2013 at 9:35 PM · Report this
The original UN scientists who created the global warming bullshit tried suing the UN after the fact, since they felt strong-armed and manipulated into reporting their findings. The UN's two financial arms are the IMF and World Bank.They paid for the climate change bullshit, which is Trojan Horse to get people on board with UN Agenda 21 (sustainable development), which is another word for worldwide soft communism, where you have no rights.
Posted by Siddha on June 18, 2013 at 10:06 PM · Report this
@10 I'm a climate scientist. Give me an actual scientific finding you take issue with and I will rebut your ass. Otherwise go fuck yourself.
Posted by wxPDX on June 18, 2013 at 10:28 PM · Report this
Kinison 13
You know, to block coal shipments from going through the region is to say "I have a much better plan in place, it replaces coal as a primary energy source, is safe and cheap".

Still waiting for the alternative to coal folks! Either you are part of the solution, or part of the problem.
Posted by Kinison on June 19, 2013 at 6:41 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 14
Siddha dear, if you want to be all conspiracy-ish, why aren't you worked up about how we are proposing shipping AMERICAN coal to a COMMUNIST country?

I bet BNSF had communist in its ranks - why don't you go find them?
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on June 19, 2013 at 6:50 AM · Report this
dirac 16
@13 This is obvious, we don't get any energy benefit from coal as we're powered by hydro. What's the plan? Profit from the sale of coal, essentially, until it's exhausted and we can't breathe. It's not like that's the way of wisdom.

But we have the alternatives. Nuclear, solar, wind, water. We don't need to pollute our land to export coal to China so they can pollute their land.
Posted by dirac on June 19, 2013 at 8:32 AM · Report this
dirac 17
Oh, and we're talking about the same organization that couldn't guarantee the integrity of levees. You think those incompetent fools are going to be reliable for evaluating environmental impacts?
Posted by dirac on June 19, 2013 at 8:36 AM · Report this
So, let me see if I get this straight. They're going to take into account all of the benefits and ignore all of the downsides. Is there any way in which this makes sense? I mean, if they took the benefits and downsides into account and said it was worth it that would be one thing but to outright say they won't even consider it is utter bullshit!

@10, You need to spend a little less time on infowars. It's bad for your health.

@13, Natural gas, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, tidal, nuclear. All better alternatives than coal. Glad I could help clear that up for you.
Posted by Root on June 19, 2013 at 8:53 AM · Report this
The USACE’s mandate is to assess the environmental and other impacts on the navigable waters of Puget Sound should gateway Pacific Terminal be built, if anybody wishes them to consider the effects of the products be exported, for the CoE to do a broader review would require an act of Congress.

@17: the CoE had been warning for years that the NOLA levies were unsafe, but congress never appropriated money to have them fixed, after Katrina, Congress went cheap, so the civil engineers at CoE wouldn’t sign off and say the levies were safe.

Also for the record Peabody Energy (the largest player in the Powder River Basin) recently pulled off a scam where they stole the health care benefits of 22,000 of its retirees
Posted by Merchant Seaman on June 19, 2013 at 9:41 AM · Report this
@19 "a broader review would require an act of Congress" -- It already exists; it's called NEPA, and it applies to all "major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." Everyone agrees DoE decisions facilitating the export of coal is such an action, thus a full EIS is required. The issue is the scope of the CoE's EIS/NEPA review.

We are in ill-defined territory here with considerable significant adverse impacts from the coal export activity far beyond the location of the site specific CoE and Whatcom County permitting decisions. Search "scope of nepa analysis" or similar and you'll find enough material to keep you (and lots of lawyers) busy. I foresee extensive and lengthy litigation.
Posted by TobyinFremont on June 19, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this

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