Resist the John Henry No. 1 Coal Mine

Washington currently has NO active coal mines.  Let’s keep it that way.

In 2018, the Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC) was granted a federal permit to resume mining at the John Henry No. 1 mine, right outside of Black Diamond, WA. The federal permit was granted with minimal environmental review and a finding of “No Significant Impact” on the environment, despite it being directly located in the Green River Watershed and the known impact of coal on climate and public health.

PCCC only needs a few more permits to recommence mining at the site, including a water quality permit from the WA Dept. of Ecology. Since the mine stopped operating in 1999, PCCC has failed to clean up its site as required by law. If the mine reopens, it will be the only active coal mine in Washington State and will pose major environmental and health risks to residents.

The John Henry mine will impact the health of our community and environment.

  • Climate: Resuming mine operations would produce over 240,000 tons of carbon pollution per year, the equivalent of adding 51,000 additional cars to our roads. The mine’s total emissions over six years of operation would reach around 2% of the total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in King County², a major step backwards for King County and Washington state’s climate change goals.
  • Health: Mining operations would cause air pollution and coal dust which is particularly concerning for Black Diamond Elementary School children who are located just 2,000 feet away from the mine site.
  • Water: Wastewater from the mine would pollute local waterways in the Green River Watershed, including Lake Sawyer – the fourth largest natural lake in King County – and downriver salmon spawning and rearing habitat. Lake Sawyer is already subject to a pollution cleanup plan.
  • Local Environment: Daily trucks carrying coal through Black Diamond will cause noise and damage to roads, a nuisance and potential taxpayer cost.

No coal mine in King County!

Local officials have spoken out against the coal mine, including the Black Diamond City Council and County Executive Dow Constantine. Now it’s time for residents to speak up to protect our communities, environment, climate, and salmon from the harmful impacts of coal mining1.

Tell the Department of Ecology to deny the Clean Water Permit for PCCC!

We are currently awaiting the release of the draft water quality permit from the WA Department of Ecology. Once the state releases the draft water quality permit, we will need your help to demand the WA State Department of Ecology refuse to re-issue or extend a wastewater permit for the mine. Join our action listserv to be notified when it is time to comment on the draft permit. In the meantime, here’s what you can do to take action!

  1. Join our action listserv. Email to be added to the John Henry Mine listserv and receive updates on the mine.
  2. Contact your County Councilmember. Contact your County Councilmember today and let them know you want them to do everything in their power to stop the mine from reopening. You can find your County District and County Councilmember’s contact info here:
  3. Contact the King County Executive. County Executive Dow Constantine has spoken out strongly against the mine³. Call him to urge him to take action to stop the mine and protect King County communities from the environmental and health impacts of coal mining. Contact Executive Constantine at 206-263-9600 or
  4. Sign up for alerts from the Department of Ecology. To be notified directly when the draft wastewater permit for the mine is released and the comment period begins, email Tricia Miller at and ask to receive notifications on the John Henry Coal Mine.
  5. Reach out to friends in southeastern King County. Live in Black Diamond or the nearby area, or know folks who do? If they are interested in getting involved, tell them to email to get connected!


1. Sightline Institute report, June 20, 2017. “Northwest Targets: Communities Threatened by Oil, Coal, and Gas.” 

2. Seattle Weekly article, May 25, 2018. “Plans to open King County Coal Mine Later this Year Move Forward.”

3. Seattle Times article, November 10, 2017. “Small Potatoes or Climate Catastrophe? Company Wants to Restart Coal Mining in King County.”