Puget Sound offers some of the most spectacular marine recreational opportunities found anywhere in the U.S. Kite boarding, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, fishing, shellfish harvesting, and wildlife watching are among many uses that draw people to our shorelines. Representing thousands of ocean recreational users in western Washington, we share many concerns regarding the proposed SSA Marine Gateway Pacific coal export terminal at Cherry Point, as well as all coal export terminals proposed in the Pacific Northwest.
Our concerns for the proposed SSA Marine terminal are based on the following reasons:
• Increased large ocean vessel traffic including larger Cape ships, would increase risks for shipping lane accidents, spills and congestion.
• Environmental harm from coal dust, increased diesel pollution, ocean acidification and mercury deposition would threaten already imperiled Puget Sound marine life, including the Cherry Point herring, which are a vital link in the food web for wild salmon and resident orca.
• There would be increased health risks associated with the coal dust and air pollution at the terminal and along the rail corridor.
• Access to the waterfront would be compromised due to heavy rail traffic disrupting pedestrian and vehicle crossings.
• There would be an increase in public expenditures to support railroad infrastructure.
• First-responders in emergency situations would suffer delays due to increased rail traffic.
Ocean recreation is a vital component of the local economy in Whatcom County and the greater Puget Sound, enhancing our quality of life and supporting thousands of tourism and outdoor recreation related jobs. Now is the time to foster clean ocean jobs, not cut them off by industrializing the shorelines of Whatcom County.