City, tribal leaders form group opposing coal trains

Updated:

BNSF train carrying coal

SEATTLE - Leaders of cities and tribal nations across the Pacific Northwest announced the formation of a new coalition to oppose coal trains and coal exports.

The Leadership Alliance Against Coal was formed to raise awareness about what it said is the damaging economic, cultural, and health impacts of coal trains and coal exports, as well as take action to protect communities.

 “These coal trains threaten the health of our communities, the strength of our economies, and the environmental and cultural heritage we share,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “We will stand together to stop the coal trains.”

 The alliance grew out of conversations between leaders from cities and tribal nations concerned about the impact of coal trains on their communities.

 Alliance members are calling for agencies to work together to explore the impacts on the health of people living near the rail tracks and coal terminals and urge state and federal agencies to deny permits for coal export proposals.

  The City of Seattle conducted a study that found coal trains could add an additional two hours of gate downtime at major street crossings of the railway by 2025. Similar delays are likely in other cities along the proposed route of the trains, the city said.

 Tribe members said they are concerned that coal trains and the proposed coal terminals would violate their treaty rights and damage their cultural heritage, as well as cause economic and health impacts.

 “For thousands of years Washington state tribes have fought to protect all that is important for those who call this great state home. We can no longer allow industry and business to pollute our water and land; we as leaders need to protect our treaty resources, our economies, and the human health of our citizens and neighbors,” said Brian Cladoosby, Chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.

 The members of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal are as follows:

•           Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle

•           Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Seattle

•           Councilmember Larry Phillips, King County

•           Mayor Jon Nehring, Marysville

•           Mayor Keith McGlashan, Shoreline

•           Deputy Mayor Chris Eggen, Shoreline

•           State Representative Reuven Carlyle

•           Council President Ben Stuckart, Spokane

•           Mayor Dave Earling, Edmonds

•           Councilmember Strom Peterson, Edmonds

•           Councilmember Nancy M. Dumas, Sumner

•           Mayor Steve Bonkowski, Bainbridge Island

•           Chairman Melvin Sheldon, Jr., Tulalip Tribes

•           Chairman Brian Cladoosby, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

•           Councilmember Jay Julius, Lummi Nation