Letter to the editor: Coal trains = Jobs rolling away

To the editor:

Zachariah Bryan’s photo and articles on the thousands at the last “scoping meeting” on the Bellingham coal terminal proposal (“No surprises; coal opponents overwhelm…” and “Mayor announces study…” in the 21 Dec. Ballard News-Tribune) were thankfully more reality-reflective than those of the Seattle Times. No doubt most Ballard area residents also object to daily snakes of open cars grinding through Golden Gardens and Carkeek while flooding all around with poisons. However, decrying the destruction of our rail corridor neighborhoods will not win popular opinion against the expensive propaganda being pumped out by Peabody Coal, Goldman Sachs, and their cohorts.

Now that we are in the limbo of the Army Corps’ EIR preparation –before expected public hearings in 2014– we need to address the one false claim on which the coal exporters depend: that terminals in Pacific Coast bays, rivers, and sounds will “create employment”.

We must ask why China is building one coal plant a week and now the largest ships in the world (to carry Montana’s coal). We must ask which energy-intensive industries (automobiles, aircraft, aluminum?) Beijing still desires to dominate. We must ask how much of this region’s container and commuter rail traffic will be edged out by coal transport. We must ask how much of the Sound’s aquatic life will be decimated, along with its dependents. We must ask how much the pollution arriving via the jet stream will stunt forests and deform babies. And finally, we must ask how many occupations and incomes will be cumulatively destroyed by this century-long scheme to benefit Wall Street and the Forbidden City.

- Jeff Jordan

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