Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Majority of Washington Voters Oppose Coal Exports

Latest polling results show substantial movement
in public opinion against coal terminal projects.
Many of our readers will be pleased to find out the latest polling results on the coal trains and coal export terminals proposed in Washington and Oregon. It has always been clear support for the proposals declines dramatically as their details become more well-known. Monday's poll provides a definite example of how the work of hundreds of volunteers making thousands of phone calls and knocking on thousands of doors has made a huge difference.

Clear majorities of voters in both Washington and Oregon now oppose the proposed coal export terminals. In Washington, 51% of voters say they oppose transporting coal through Washington in route to Asia. In Oregon, 54% of voters share their opposition.

Moving public opinion on a contentious issue is never easy. But the commitment of volunteers who have taken the time to stand up, educate their community, and fight back against the coal companies has had an persistent and growing impact over the last two years.

"These recent results reinforce what we experience at the grassroots level, and confirms reports from our volunteers," said Crina Hoyer, Executive Director of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, part of the regional coalition working to stop coal exports that conducted the poll. "The more people learn about the impacts of coal exports, the less likely they are to support them."

The latest poll results come right as the coalition is planning to roll out a series of new TV ads to help people do exactly that: help people learn more about the issue and how they can make a difference. The first TV ad, called "Washington Families Against Coal Trains," highlights a multigenerational family living near the train tracks and their concerns about the plan to ship dangerous coal from the Powder River Basin through our communities for export in Asia.

One of several ad spots featuring Washington families that will air this month.
Rick Marshall, a Camas resident and one of the family members profiled in the Power Past Coal spot, says that he and his family understand the importance of spreading the word about the dangers of exporting coal. In addition to appearing in the TV ad, the Marshalls have volunteered by talking to their friends and neighbors, encouraging their community to join the movement against dangerous coal export plans. "Coal is a terrible deal for Washington families," said Marshall. "These coal trains and coal terminals are dirty and generate lots of pollution. They will hurt our communities and we shouldn't have to pay with our health so some coal executive can make a few extra bucks."
The beautiful work of Jewell James and the
House of Tears carvers, will serve as part of the
reason for Northwest Tribes to gather
and learn more about the Lummis'
stand on coal at Cherry Point.

The timing of the ad push isn't random. Today marks the kick off of two major events: the Totem Pole Journey led by Jewell James, a respected elder and master carver in the Lummi community, and the scoping hearings for the Longview coal terminal.

The Totem Pole Journey is an opportunity for the Lummi community to bring its message and opposition to tribal nations all over the Pacific Northwest, and stops include reservations along the rail line as well as major cities like Portland and Seattle. The trip will make a stop at Cherry Point on September 27th, where the totem pole will be blessed before being presented as a gift to the Tsliel-Waututh nation in North Vancouver.

In addition, the first of five scoping hearings on the coal terminal proposed for Longview, Washington will provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the scope of the environmental review for the 44-million ton facility. Many of the issues at Longview overlap with the concerns for Cherry Point, including train traffic and the potential impact to our region's vital salmon fishery. In addition, the Longview proposal has also generated opposition among local tribal nations, including the Cowlitz tribe who announced their opposition just last month.

As the hearings start gearing up and we begin to hear more from the communities affected by the coal export terminal, it will be important for many of the people who learned so much working on scoping comments for Cherry Point to get engaged and take action. Now is the time to ask for impacts on rail communities to be studied, as well as fishing, tribal, climate, and economic concerns. It only makes sense for the review in Longview to be as extensive as the review in Cherry Point -- which is why it's critical we ask for it.

For More Information

Check out the full poll results here: http://bit.ly/1guz1SC

Support and learn more about the Lummi Totem Pole Journey on Indiegogo: http://www.igg.me/at/totempolejourney

Find the full schedule of hearings for the Longview coal terminal here: http://www.powerpastcoal.org/attend-a-hearing/

You can still learn about the impacts of the proposed coal terminals and how to make good scoping comments at our updated scoping page: http://www.re-sources.org/gpt/scoping


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