Locus Focus on 01/28/13
STOPPING THE COAL TRAINS
Thanks to tighter emissions regulations that are shuttering aging coal-fired plants and the growth of renewable energy installations, the coal industry in the United States is finding itself on the ropes. In 2011, U.S.. carbon dioxide emissions actually decreased by 1.7 percent, largely because we've begun to wean ourselves off coal. But the U.S.. coal industry's response hasn't been to shift to a less environmentally devastating business practices; instead they are planning to ship coal across the Pacific to Asia. Coal mined in the Powder River basin of Montana and Wyoming would be carried across the Pacific Northwest on coal trains more than a mile long, shedding toxic dust as they pass on their way to six new export terminals proposed in Oregon and Washington.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with two active opponents of the coal trains—Bethany Cotton and Marilee Dea—about why they are opposing the coal trains and what you can do to prevent our region from being complicit in exporting the coal we no longer burn here to the rest of the world.
Bethany Cotton works for Greenpeace and with the Power Past Coal Coalition opposing coal export proposals across the Northwest. A fifth generation Oregonian, Bethany grew up in Southern Oregon and has lived in Portland for over a decade. Bethany is an attorney with a background in Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act litigation and she works to empower Pacific Northwest communities who agree that this is not coal country.
Marilee Dea has been a pediatric nurse practitioner for 35 years, working with Multnomah County Health Department for 20 years as the coordinator of the Lead and the Asthma Prevention Program. Presently she is an organic farmer at the Columbia Ecovillage, a 4 acre intentional community on 46th and Killingsworth in NE Portland, less than a half mile from the railroad tracks that could carry coal.