Click our logo for the Sierra Club homepage.
Scrapbook: Washington Activists Celebrate Defeat of Coal's Plan to Export

« Sierra Club's No Nukes Activist Team Focuses on San Onofre | Main | Kayak Rally Kicks Off Campaign to Retire Dirty Baltimore Coal Plants »

Sierra Club Scrapbook

August 22, 2012

Washington Activists Celebrate Defeat of Coal's Plan to Export


Big Coal is feeling the heat in the Pacific Northwest.

RailAmerica threw in the towel last week, ditching plans to send coal -- as much as 5 million tons annually -- through Grays Harbor, Washington, for shipping overseas.

The proposal was part of an onslaught of export projects Big Coal is trying to push through in Washington and Oregon, which would extract an unthinkable amount of coal from Wyoming's Great Basin, send it to the coast by train, and ultimately ship it to East Asia.

Coal companies, thinking this plan was easy money, didn't anticipate the type of passionate opposition it now faces. It seems like everyone agrees with the Sierra Club: coal trains are not welcome here.

"I've never seen a campaign like this," says Robin Everett of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "The level of engagement across every community is unbelievable. The left, the right. Farmers, doctors, and small business owners. All kinds of cities."

RailAmerica's proposal was small compared to the five other proposed ports and routes that would transport tens of millions of tons of coal each year.

The defeat of RailAmerica shows that the grassroots campaign is working. Coal companies had assumed they would be well on their way to exporting coal without much hassle.

"They thought these proposals would be signed, sealed, and delivered," Robin says.


All across the state, civic leaders have realized the consequences of letting coal trains through: more coal dust that causes asthma and respiratory problems; dozens of mile-long trains that'd hold up traffic and emergency vehicles; risk of derailment; and an enormous climate impact.

"Exporting all this coal to Asia -- it's more carbon than Keystone. That's how big this is," says Robin.


The next focus is Peabody Coal, which wants to export 48 million tons through Cherry Point, Washington, each year. Sierra Club supporters and allies, cities, and business leaders are already mobilizing for upcoming public meetings, which will influence the fate of Peabody's massive project. But with the defeat of RailAmerca, Big Coal's scheme appears even more vulnerable.

"RailAmerica's proposal died because when you start to weigh risks versus benefits, coal exports just does not pan out. There is strong opposition to exporting coal through this region and coal companies need to be prepared for a long fight."

Get involved! Join us and fight coal exports in the Pacific Northwest!


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Washington Activists Celebrate Defeat of Coal's Plan to Export:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2011 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.