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Consequences of Coal Exports Through the Pacific Northwest Martin Donohoe.

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Presentation on theme: "Consequences of Coal Exports Through the Pacific Northwest Martin Donohoe."— Presentation transcript:

1 Consequences of Coal Exports Through the Pacific Northwest Martin Donohoe

2 Plans Powder River Basin coal, cheap, export to China and India – Federal land, cheap – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and GAO looking into royalty payment evasion (companies valuing coal at low domestic prices, rather than those fetched overseas)

3 Health Consequences of Coal Mining Respiratory diseases Heart disease Cancers Low birth weight Birth defects Etc.





8 48 mmt/yr coal 8 mmt/yr coal 10 mmt/yr coal 44 mmt/yr coal 15-30 mmt/yr coal 10 mmt/yr coal Total: 150 mmt/yr coal

9 Plans 150 million tons 26 trains/day 4 diesel engines/train Barges Up to 500 lbs. or 3% of coal dust lost per car during transit


11 Accidents Almost 40 train derailments over last 2 years Vancouver barge hits coal chute Mississippi River Barge hit railroad bridge, leaking oil

12 Coal Train derailment near Baltimore, OH Coal train derailment from coal dust buildup near Baltimore, Ohio. Photo from Reuters.

13 Mesa, WA Coal Train Derailment (July 2, 2012)

14 Westshore Coal Terminal in BC Photo from CKNW News Talk 980.

15 Deception Ambre Energy mislead Port of Longview (5 million tons/yr; internal documents up to 60 million tons/yr; re-applied at 45 million tons/yr) Port of Coos Bay admonished by judge for attempting to prevent Sierra Club form obtaining public records re proposed terminal

16 Coal Dust

17 Health Effects Diesel particulate matter: – impaired lung development – pulmonary inflammation – increased risk of heart attacks/strokes/cancer/asthma (ER visits and hospitalizations) – increases cardiopulmonary and all-cause mortality

18 Health Effects Coal Dust: – chronic bronchitis/emphysema/pulmonary fibrosis – exposure to heavy metals – Organic gardeners – 3-fold increased risk of cancer in coal terminal workers in Australia

19 Health Effects Noise: – Cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, increased BP, arrhythmias) – Stroke – Cognitive impairment in children – Exacerbation of mental health disorders – Sleep disturbance (fatigue, HTN, arrhythmias, accidents and injuries)

20 Health and Environmental Effects Adverse Effects on: – Native Americans Yakima Nation tribal fishing sites – Organic gardeners – Quality of life

21 Frequent, Long Train Crossings Delayed EMS and fire department response times – Effect on heart attack/stroke/trauma victims, police response to crimes – Portland Fire Department response times already poor – Houseboat fire Increased accidents traumatic injuries, deaths

22 22

23 Consequences of Burning Coal Increased ground level ozone Mercury and other heavy metals – Neurotoxin – 300,000-600,000 women of reproductive age with toxic levels – 18% of Mt Bachelor mercury from Asian power plants

24 Consequences of Burning Coal Air pollution: – 75,000 premature deaths/yr in U.S. – 6 million worldwide

25 Consequences of Burning Coal Global warming: – 150,000 - 300,000 deaths and 5.0 - 5.5 million disability-adjusted life years lost per year (WHO, UN Environment Program) – Expected to double by 2030 – Weather extremes

26 Jobs Support of unions, living wage Short-term, unhealthy jobs Effect on local retailers and their often low wage employees U.S. taxpayers subsidizing Chinese and Indian jobs Amoral logic of “someone else will sell it to them” – similar to tobacco exports

27 Jobs Jobs program for pulmonologists, special ed teachers, and morticians

28 Multnomah County Health Department Analysis 9% of population suffers from asthma. Coal dust may travel 1/3 rd to 1 1/4 miles from train tracks. Almost 1/3 of population lives in areas that either border or cross rail lines that could carry coal and already experience a high burden of air pollution and noise disturbance from industrial sites, roads, and trains

29 Multnomah County Health Department Analysis Communities of color, children, older adults, and low income citizens most likely to be affected Cumulative delay of up to two hours per day at each rail crossing and delays in emergency response times expected Precautionary principle invoked, calls for HIS and EIA

30 Public Opposition Have indicated concern or disapproval of coal export proposals: – 600 health professionals – 400 local businesses – 220 faith leaders – 30 municipalities – Northwest Tribes (Lummi Nation and Yakama Nation)

31 Public Opposition Over 1,000 people attended Oregon DEQ hearings in 12/12 Impressive state capital rally 3/13 Other events planned

32 Upcoming Decisions DSL plans 4/1/13 decision on the first application for Ambre Energy project. DEQ may issue draft air quality permit for Ambre Energy as early as 4/13.

33 What You Can Do Join Power Past Coal Coalition Volunteer Call Governor Kitzhaber or his Citizen Representative: (503) 378-4582 Contact DEQ and DSL

34 What You Can Do Demand a full spectrum Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Demand a halt to all proposals

35 Conclusions Coal is a dying 19 th Century technology with Dickensian effects on human health and the environment The consequences of coal transport through the Pacific Northwest and its subsequent burning in Asian power plants is bad for the Northwest, the United States, and the world

36 Conclusions U.S. needs an energy policy for the 21 st century, using clean technologies that provide long-term, well-paying, and safe jobs

37 Special Thanks To Regna Merritt, Oregon PSR – Laura Stevens, Oregon Sierra Club/Beyond Coal Campaign Alan Lockwood, PSR Thousands of concerned citizens who have volunteered their time and energy

38 Resources Power Past Coal: Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign: Coal’s Assault on Human Health (Physicians for Social Responsibility): assault-on-human-health.html assault-on-human-health.html Oregon PSR Resources: health-/proposed-coal-exports.html and health-/ health-/proposed-coal-exports.html health-/

39 Contact Information Public Health and Social Justice Website: or Martin Donohoe

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