SkyTruth Joins Petition Regarding Pacific NW Coal Exports

SkyTruth has joined WaterKeeper Alliance members from around the Pacific Rim and other NGO’s in petitioning the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) to  widen the scope of their environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County, WA. We endorse this petition because it supports our vision of “a world where all people can see and understand the environmental consequences of human activity everywhere on the earth.” 
Smog (grey clouds) over China as seen by NASA’s MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) in October 2010.  Increased exports through the Pacific Northwest are expected to find a major market in China and Southeast Asia.
Photo: NASA/MODIS
From our perspective of the earth through the lenses of satellites, aerial images, and spatial data, we have a unique perspective on the footprint of human activity and the far-reaching impacts of our development. In order for the ACoE to make a accurate judgement on the positive and negative elements of this project, all of the impacts have to be accounted for. This petition calls for a thorough environmental impact statement that:
  • Analyzes impacts to every community impacted by the mining, transport and burning of coal, including impacts in Montana, Idaho, Washington, India, China and Bangladesh.
  • Quantifies the air, land and water pollution from coal dust that will blow off rail cars, barges, transfer stations and loading areas contaminating communities, people, wildlife and waterways with heavy metals and particulates.
  • Thoroughly assesses the impacts of habitat alteration and pollutant impacts to natural resources, parks and wildlife including the rare, threatened and endangered species in the Columbia River Basin, the Puget Sound Basin and in the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve where the terminal might be built, including impacts to threatened Puget Sound Chinook Salmon, steelhead trout and bull trout as well as endangered Southern Resident Orca Whales.
  • Calculates and reports the amount of mercury, fine particulates and other air pollutants that will blow back across the Pacific Ocean and pollute Pacific Northwest after the coal has been burned in power plants in India and China.
  • Analyzes the impacts to cultural and archaeological resources in tribal communities that are located in the path of the coal trains, barges and ships that will supply the Gateway Pacific Terminal.
  • Assesses the likely drop in property values due to air emissions, coal dust and traffic disruption along railroad path.
  • Fully assesses the increased risk of a marine accident that could result in a major oil spill in the already-crowded waters of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, due to 900 or more container ship transits per year. This should include a major spill’s likely impact on the economy and on threatened and endangered species, including the endangered Southern Resident orca whale.
  • Quantifies the carbon emissions generated by the burning and transport of the coal, as well as its impact on global climate change and ocean acidification.
  • Includes a no-action alternative.
The comment period will remain open through January 21, 2013: to sign, visit: