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Submit your comment: Protect Native tribes and say NO to dirty coal exports

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    Submit your comment: Protect Native tribes and say NO to dirty coal exports

    Once again, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is on the verge of rubber stamping a massive fossil fuel infrastructure project that would trample Native American rights and fuel runaway climate change.

    The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal port in Longview, Washington would be the largest coal export terminal in America and ship 44 million tons of coal each year from mines in Montana and Wyoming overseas. The Army Corps just released its own glowing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the project that glosses over many of the environmental consequences and completely ignores the impact the project would have on Northwestern tribal rights and climate change.1

    The Army Corps is accepting public comments on the proposed terminal, and we need as many comments opposing this terrible idea as possible to stop this project before it gets off the ground.

    Tell the Army Corps of Engineers: Protect tribal rights, combat climate change and stop the largest coal export terminal in America.

    If completed, the project would spread toxic coal dust throughout communities in the Northwest, directly threatening the health of residents through toxic air and water pollution. And the terminal, if built, would be one of the biggest greenhouse-gas emitters in Washington.

    As they did with the Dakota Access pipeline in the upper Midwest, the Army Corps is again ignoring the impact fossil fuel projects have on tribal communities. According to Washington’s environmental study, the effects on Native Northwestern tribal fishing could be enormous, saying the mile-long uncovered coal trains “would cause physical or behavioral responses in fish or affect aquatic habitat in the Columbia River. These impacts could reduce the number of fish surviving to adulthood and returning to areas upstream of Bonneville Dam, thereby affecting the number of fish available for harvest by the tribes in the Columbia River.”2

    Earlier this year, the Lummi tribe and allies defeated the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal in Washington for violating tribal fishing rights.3 And more recently in the upper Midwest, the ongoing protests by the Standing Rock Sioux and thousands of activists have forced the government to acknowledge its failings in its approach to tribal rights. Recently, when a judge refused to issue an injunction on the Dakota Access pipeline, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice halted the pipeline’s construction on Native land anyway, saying “this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.4

    This time, however, the Army Corps is completely ignoring any impact the coal train routes would have on tribal communities and is also taking a dangerous and narrow view of carbon emissions. They are ignoring the 27 million tons per year of net carbon-dioxide emissions that would result from burning the coal overseas.5

    Tell the Army Corps of Engineers: Protect tribal rights, combat climate change and stop the largest coal export terminal in America.

    This spring, 250,000 people – including 85,000 CREDO activists – spoke out to stop this project after Washington issued its EIS. Activists have been making hundreds of phone calls and packing public hearings at every opportunity. But the coal industry isn’t giving up easily, and we need to continue fighting to keep dirty coal in the ground where it belongs.

    At a time when sovereign tribal nations are under attack by the fossil-fuel industry, we should not be investing millions more in a dirty project that tramples tribal rights and further promotes climate change. Let’s make sure regulators hear us loud and clear that this project is dirty, dangerous and violates the rights of Native tribes.

    Tell the Army Corps of Engineers: Protect tribal rights, combat climate change and stop the largest coal export terminal in America.

    Thanks for all you do.

    References

    1. Army Corps of Engineers Gives Coal Terminal Favorable Review,” Associated Press, Oct. 3, 2016.
    2. 3.5 Tribal Resources, Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview SEPA Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Cowlitz County & Washington State Department of Ecology, April 2016.
    3. Clark Williams-Derry, “Lummi Nation Defeats Coal Export Terminal,” Sightline Institute, May 9, 2016.
    4. Joe Heim and Mark Berman “Federal government moves to halt oil pipeline construction near Standing Rock Sioux tribal land,” Washington Post, Sept. 9, 2016.
    5. Joel Connelly, “Army Corps takes very limited look at plan for very big coal terminal,” seattlepi.com, Sept. 30, 2016.