Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
City Council votes against coal-export terminals
Export sustainable technologies instead
The Seattle City Council made the right call in opposing major expansion of coal shipments through the region. [“City Council votes against coal-export terminals,” NWWednesday, May 30.]
Coal is the dirtiest fuel of them all. Already several coal-power plants in the Northwest are closing due to pollution concerns. It makes no sense to ship millions of tons of coal to Asia while we are eliminating our own use here.
Our research at the University of Washington has shown that pollution from Asia is transported across the Pacific and contributes significantly to air pollution here in Washington. Our best estimate is that 25 percent of the mercury and 10 percent of the ozone in the atmosphere here in Washington is due to sources in Asia.
Shipment of coal would have several significant consequences for our region: exposure to diesel exhaust and coal dust for people living near the rail lines, increased ozone and mercury in the prevailing westerly winds and increased global warming.
Adding cheap Wyoming coal to the global market will decrease the price and increase its use. This is the wrong direction to go for the planet. Washington should continue to lead in the development of sustainable technologies, and these are what we should be exporting.
— Dan Jaffe, Seattle