Bellingham, WA, Western Washington University Student
“As an environmental toxicology student, this statement angered me beyond belief:
“Back in February 2011, the Whatcom Democrats had a panel discussion at which SSA Marine representatives proclaimed to the crowd that this terminal would mean a happy and healthy place that would attract families to settle and retire. I knew better than to believe what they said.
“Yes, I would love a happy place to raise a family like Whatcom County, but with coal trains, it is impossible. I fell in love with Whatcom County when I moved here for college because it had such high environmental living standards. In fact, I love it so much that I want to settle down some day and raise a family here. But even with the mere proposal of the Gateway Pacific Terminal, I worry about my future children. I worry about all the health problems they and I would have from the carcinogenic and other small particulate pollutants from the uncovered coal train cars and diesel engines. I worry about the places I love to hike, run, swim, bike, kayak, surf and play, and the fact that places like Larrabee and Birch Bay State Parks could be destroyed by this coal export terminal.
“Additionally, coal is the largest contributor to mercury pollution. Here in Whatcom County, we worked hard to eliminate mercury contamination in Lake Whatcom, our drinking water source. We patted ourselves on the back for lowering the levels to next to nothing; however the mercury levels mysteriously began to rise again. After extensive searching, it was found that the source was China. How could we even dream of shipping coal to China when it would further poison our drinking water, not to mention contribute heavily to global warming? That’s what I call the “cycle of insanity”- shipping coal off our coast, which not only pollutes as we ship it off, but comes back in the long term to poison us all over again. More youth are catching on to this and are not happy. We deserve a say in our future and the future of our unborn children, and their children’s children. Bellingham has become a flashpoint for the future of global climate change. If we stand up and say “No!” to exporting coal off our coast, the hope is that others will gather courage to stand up for their human right to live in a safe and healthy environment.”