Activists Shine A Light On Washington Coal Ports

By scott parkin
Projection by Seattle Space Needle, Photo Credit: Marcus Donner/RAN

Holy Coal Hard Truth, Batman!

This week, I’ve been riding around the streets of Seattle with a guerrilla projection team. We’ve been shining a massive Bat Signal-like light on iconic locations around town to get our message about coal exports out to Seattle’s citizens.

For almost a year now, one of the biggest environmental stories in the Pacific Northwest has been the coal industry’s attempts to establish a coal exporting foothold along the Washington and Oregon coasts. Companies like Peabody Energy (the biggest coal company in the world) and Arch Coal (the second largest coal company in the U.S.) want to ship that dirty black rock they’ve dug out of the ground in Wyoming and Montana to overseas markets for power generation.

Arch Coal and their Australian business partners Ambre Energy have applied for permits to build a coal export terminal on top of an old aluminum smelting plant along the Columbia River in Longview, WA.

Up north on Puget Sound near Bellingham, Peabody Energy has partnered with SSA Marine (the world’s largest port logistics company) to build an export terminal on Cherry Point.

Both of these projects would ship tens of millions of tons of coal a year, wreaking havoc on local ecosystems, local communities and the global climate.

The fight has thus far been waged in political, regulatory and legal arenas. And we’re winning. But Old King Coal is determined to reap profits from mining and power plants and isn’t giving up so easily.

So we are using more street and creative actions to elevate the profile of coal to folks in the Northwest. The Pacific Northwest has a long of history of environmental resistance and we’re turning up the heat.

kerry park
via RAN Photo Credit: Marcus Donner