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June 14, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Murray assessing the coal-export facilities

Considering all involved

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sen. Patty Murray for standing for Washington’s citizens and our environment by requesting a Cumulative Impact Assessment for the six coal-export facilities proposed here in the Pacific Northwest.

Asking the hard questions about whether these terminals are right for us and our future, and what it means for affected communities, not only in Washington and Oregon, but inland along rail lines in Montana and Idaho, is exactly what our elected officials are supposed to do.

The Pacific Northwest is at a crossroads; big coal companies are seeking permits to bring the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on our planet through our communities on multiple 1.5-mile-long coal trains every day. These coal ports would have a number of very serious collective impacts that will affect the regional and global environment that are better considered in one programmatic environmental-impact statement (EIS).

For example, operation of all of the pending or potential known proposals could mean nearly 150 million tons of coal per year moving via rail through Northwest communities. The programmatic EIS would consider the shared impacts of all the terminal proposals, and separate, terminal-specific EISs could be performed on the individual and/or unique impacts of the individual projects.

Thank you again Sen. Murray — I hope that Sen. Maria Cantwell will be following your lead soon.

— Lindsay Taylor, Bellingham


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