Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Coal-train initiative fails to garner enough signatures
Similar to battle over oil tankers
Recently, a court ruled against a voter initiative banning the transport of coal through Bellingham [Anti-coal initiative won’t be on the ballot,” Around the Northwest, Aug. 5]. The Whatcom County initiative would have been advisory only.
The battle against the transport of coal is reminiscent of the battle the state waged against the transport of oil. The state tried to micromanage the oil-tanker traffic. The tanker companies fought back and took the state to court, all the way to the Supreme Court. The state lost, in a ruling known as Intertanko. The ruling stated that the state could not place additional regulations on ships that were regulated by the federal government.
As a reaction to this ruling, the state passed the requirement that the transport of oil meet BAP and BAT standards, which simply means that the oil tankers must use the Best Available Technology and Best Available Practices in the transport of oil.
The same standards should apply to coal. BAP, BAT standards for the proposed coal terminal would include a wind block around the terminal site that would serve not just as protection from sudden wind gusts, but also as noise abatement, as well as covered coal piles and rail cars.
— Donna Shaw, Ferndale