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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 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



6 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

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




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 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

17 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

18 Coal Dust

19 Coal Dust Escape 645 lbs without surfactant 97 lbs with surfactant BNSF Study

20 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)

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

22 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

23 23

24 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

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

26 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

27 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

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

29 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

30 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

31 Public Opposition Have indicated concern or disapproval of coal export proposals: – 600 health professionals – 400 local businesses – 220 faith leaders

32 Public Opposition Have indicated concern or disapproval of coal export proposals: – Multiple Oregon and Washington municipalities – Northwest Tribes (Lummi Nation and Yakama Nation)

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

34 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.

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

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

37 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

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

39 Günter Grass “The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open.”

40 African Proverb If you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in your tent

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

42 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-/

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

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