The Coal Pipeline: In Pacific Northwest, A Local Battle Has Global Fallout

Allison Roberts News

That coal and its potential implications has sparked a fierce fight in this otherwise quiet college town. . .The opposition includes doctors, business owners, ecologists and community activists, who are concerned about harm to the air and water, among other potential health, environmental and economic consequences of both the port itself and the additional 18 trains that would rumble through town daily.

Bellingham is not alone in its concerns. The mile-and-a-half long coal trains would wind through dozens of Western communities, including the cities of Spokane and Seattle, along a northwest route that originates in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming. There, a seemingly endless supply of the combustible rock would be strip-mined, triggering another array of health and environmental issues. A similar process of mining, handling and transporting already occurs in places around the world — from Australia’s Hunter Valley to Virginia.

Debate in the United States also reflects the ongoing global concern over continued reliance on fossil fuels, particularly in the rapidly industrializing nations of Asia.

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