Bellingham’s Coal Train Blues plays on NPR

It’s been a while since I wrote about the battle over coal taking place right here in Bellingham — Post 1 from March, Post 2 from June. But with an election coming soon, which includes a face off between proponents and opponents of a coal terminal that would ship 48 million tons of coal per year, coal that would reach the terminal by going right through the middle of a town that is known nationally as a model of sustainability, it’s about time that I bring up the topic again.

That NPR also happens to be running a story today on the Bellingham Coalmaggedon, really leaves me no choice, actually. I can’t not mention it!

As I wrote in June, Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike has taken a courageous, unequivocal stand against the coal terminal, so you know he’s got my vote for his re-election, and here he is, nailing it on the head in the NPR piece:

“There are some folks advocating for it because, like a lot of communities, we really could use good jobs,” Pike says. “But we’ve also built a reputation over the past few decades as a place that values sustainability. And there are few things that are as anti-sustainability as coal is.”

On another note, I’m really glad that NPR included this tibit (my emphasis added in bold):

Pike is pitted against labor unions, which welcome the construction jobs and the few hundred high-paying jobs that would eventually result at the terminal. Proponents also include Peabody Energy, which would mine the coal for export; Warren Buffett, who owns the railway that would carry the coal; and SSA Marine, which runs ports around the world and wants to build this one.

Warren Buffett earned the respect and gratitude of millions of poor, working class, and middle class Americans this year when he publicly demanded that the U.S. government raise his taxes, along with taxes on the rest of The 1%,

And while I don’t want to detract too much from Buffett’s stance on taxes and his significant track record of philanthropy, most notably his 2006 gift to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest charitable donation in history, it’s impossible for me to let him off the hook for his role in the expansion of coal mining and exportation.

No, we have to draw the line in the sand on this coal business, just as it is in the interest of the country and the planet for us to oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Never was the saying more appropriate: Think Globally, Act Locally!

2 thoughts on “Bellingham’s Coal Train Blues plays on NPR

    1. Yeah, though I try very hard to stay optimistic, I have to admit that I’m feeling very discouraged right now.

      The big money interests behind the Keystone XL pipeline, for instance, are sneaking their way around the resistance they’ve met and taking advantage of the Obama administrations massive failure to take a badly-needed unequivocal “no” position on the project.

      Heavy sigh.

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