Target: US Army Corps of Engineers
Goal: Ensure the review of a major coal export terminal includes regional and global environmental impacts
Ambre Energy and Arch Coal, two major coal companies based in Australia and the US, want to build one of North America’s largest coal export terminals in Longview, Washington. The project, which would be designed to handle 44 million tons of coal annually, would send US coal overseas to China, South Korea, and other countries on the western rim of the Pacific Ocean. Trains carrying coal from mines in Montana and Wyoming would pass through dozens of Pacific Northwest towns on their way to the proposed terminal, exposing communities to coal dust, diesel pollution, and increased congestion due to train traffic. When burned overseas, the coal would add to global climate change.
Despite the broad regional and global implications of the Longview terminal, backers of the project are hoping state and federal regulators will only look at the most localized impacts in their environmental review. The US Army Corps of Engineers, the federal body charged with reviewing the coal terminal’s construction permit, should conduct a comprehensive review that considers all impacts of this project, from effects of increased coal mining in Montana and Wyoming, to pollution in rail line communities, to climate change. The Army Corps recently opened a public comment period on how broad the scope of their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should be, so now is the time for citizens to make their voices heard.
Already, dozens of local governments up and down the rail line have passed resolutions urging the Army Corps to conduct a comprehensive EIS. At the first public hearing on the project, held in Longview, more than a thousand people turned out to raise concerns about environmental impacts. Still, if we citizens want the Army Corps to do the right thing, they need to hear from as many people as possible. Sign below, and your petition signature will be submitted as part of the official public comment period on the proposed Longview coal terminal.
Dear US Army Corps of Engineers,
We, the undersigned, call on you to work with the Washington Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County Commission to conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed coal export terminal in Longview, Wash. This export facility would have regional and global impacts that range from increased strip mining in Montana and Wyoming, to pollution in affected rail line communities, to climate change caused by the eventual combustion of the coal. Your EIS for the Longview proposal must include all these impacts, if it is truly going to reflect the scale of the project.
Coal is the dirtiest fuel in the world, and it’s largely for this reason that the United States is using less and less coal every year. Now coal companies want to make a profit by sending US coal overseas, in hopes that they can lock China and other developing countries into decades of coal dependence. Dramatically increasing US coal exports would negatively affect global efforts to fight climate change. Meanwhile, coal dust and diesel pollution from coal trains, as well as increased congestion due to coal train traffic, will directly impact communities from Montana and Wyoming all the way to the West Coast.
We urge you to consider these local, regional, and global impacts of building a coal export terminal, as you conduct your Environmental Impact Statement. Please do the right thing for affected communities, and commit to doing a comprehensive EIS.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Power Past Coal