Gov. Jay Inslee told environmentalists Tuesday that he wouldn’t accept a coal export terminal being built near Bellingham without a thorough examination of how it would affect the state’s natural resources and transportation system.
“We’ve got to make sure as we move forward with this long discussion about the coal port, that we make sure that every single environmental impact is thoroughly studied,” Inslee said told hundreds of people who showed up to the Capitol for Environmental Lobby Day.
“It is important we do not consider just the environmental impacts (around) the terminal,” Inslee continued. “We have to consider the environmental impacts across the state of Washington.”
Those statewide issues include both health and transportation concerns, Inslee said.
According to the state Department of Ecology, the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point would be a conduit for 54 million metric tons per year of imported and exported commodities — primarily coal. Up to nine trains per day would carry coal from Wyoming and Montana along the Colombia River, and later pass through communities along Interstate 5 on their way north to the export terminal.
At Tuesday’s environmental rally, Inslee also said that Washington needs to live up to its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while creating a green transportation plan.