|Frequently blocked crossings may reduce the ability of businesses to attract traffic and to deliver goods to their destinations
|Blocked Waterfront Development
|A large volume of coal trains going through downtown Bellingham will cut off the waterfront from the rest of town, impairing planned development.
|Boat Collision Hazard
|An increased volume of large ships in the Puget Sound will increase the chances of collisions between large ships or between large ships and small boats.
|Capital lock-in for big carbon infrastructure
|Once a large capital investment is made in a facility, this tends to cause continued use of that facility under circumstances when operating it would not otherwise make sense. The terminal will likely lead to the construction of additional coal burners in Asia, and those coal burners will then operate for 50+ years, with serious environmental and climate effects.
|Coal Resource Depletion
|Even though we need to reduce our use of coal in the short term, it is still an important resource that we will need for centuries. On some future day we will be pretty bummed that we sent it all to China.
|Cost of rail crossing improvements
|Local communities are generally required to pay for at least 90% of the costs of rail crossing improvements that are needed to deal with the increased train traffic.
|Damage to fishing
|The full set of marine impacts will lead to even further reduced capacity for fishing.
|Damage to train tracks
|Coal trains damage the tracks, increasing maintenance costs and impairing rail safety
|Diminished educational experience and performance
|Noise pollution interferes with communication in the classroom, and can interfere with performance of tasks. Additionally, classes and programs that include field work near the train tracks or the terminal could be disrupted by decreased access, safety, quality of site of study, and quality of experience for students.
|Division of communities
|A large increase in coal trains will have the effect of splitting communities at the rail line, to a greater extent than any current effects, by impeding free flow of people and traffic for personal and business reasons.
|Further Growth of Gigantic Businesses rather than human-scale activity
|The proposed project is an expansion by some of the largest companies in the world. It would be better to start activities that help small and local business to grow and create a healthy economy
|Giving Away Competitive Advantage
|The purpose of the coal in China is to further increase their manufacturing capacity, at a time when so much of American industry has been outsourced.
|Giving away US-owned resources for a pittance
|The coal is owned by the US Government, but is provided to the coal companies for less than $1 a ton, a fraction of its actual value.
|Illusion of Growth
|Certain activity can show up in the GDP and even in paychecks for a little while, creating an illusion of prosperity but not contributing to healthy economic security. Any economic evaluation must evaluate the underlying true value of the activity rather than just the amount of activity.
|Impacts on Current Businesses
|Existing businesses will be impacted by various types of pollution or other problems.
|Impaired Development of High Speed Rail
|If the existing lines receive a large increase in rail traffic, then it will not be possible to deploy high speed rail
|Increased commute times
|Coal trains will cause backups at crossings, increasing commute times and make surface travel schedules less reliable.
|Issues related to population of transient construction workers
|When a large construction population arrives from out of town, this is often accompanied by an increase in various social issues, and much of the “new business” is directed to sectors of the economy that are not really the ones you want in your community.
|A facility that does a fixed operation will typically shed jobs at 2-3% per year, meaning that one third of all jobs would be gone within 16 years. This is in contrast with businesses that have potential to grow and add jobs as an integrated part of the community.
|Landslides and Subsidence
|Vibration from the extremely heavy coal trains has the potential to trigger landslides or land subsidence, especially when the ground is saturated.
|Loss of Ranch Land
|An increased quantity of land that was previously used for ranching will be destroyed by the strip mines.
|Loss of Rural Character
|Some areas will no longer be suitable for current or future potential uses that are based on land having a rural character. This may include farming or tourism.
|Loss of use of parks
|Parks that are near the tracks, such as Boulevard Park in Bellingham, will be substantially less usable with a greater increased occurrence of the coal trains, principally due to the crushing noise from the trains.
|Visitors spend hundreds of millions of dollars visiting the Puget Sound area, and some of this will be impacted by the coal port.
|Misallocation of federal funds
|$800 million in federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds are being spent on rail lines which, if they are used for coal trains, will never be able to be used for high speed rail.
|Misuse of capital
|A large capital investment for a big carbon project is necessarily an investment that does not occur for something else, such as clean energy development.
|Non-reimbursed government expenses
|Governments at all levels will incur significant expenses related to permitting and administering the project, that are not covered by the applicant. For instance, Whatcom County has spent thousands of dollars so far on activity even before permitting officially began.
|The oil that is needed to fuel the trains will be mostly imported. Some of our imported oil comes from friends like Saudi Arabia.
|Permanent destruction of prime land
|The continued viability of coal export is subject to market changes, and there is good reason to believe that the export market will dry up in 5-10 years. At that time, the ground of the terminal will be permanently impaired for any other potential use.
|Pollution to farm lands
|Coal dust from coal trains and terminal operations will be deposited in adjacent farm land, impairing or destroying the ability of that land to be used to create healthy produce for people or animals to eat.
|Pollution impacts on farm animals
|Livestock near the mines, tracks, and terminal operations will ingest pollutants. These pollutants don’t go away – guess who ingests them next?
|Poor use of prime land
|Bulk export facilities create one of the lowest densities of jobs per acre of any economic activity. Pretty much any other proposed activity, covering the same acreage, would create more jobs, often as many as 10 times more jobs per acre. Once a coal terminal is built, of course, the other uses can't occur.
|Rail line congestion
|A vast increase in coal train traffic will interfere with existing train traffic including important passenger lines. On a single track, passenger trains are typically required to pull into a siding to allow a coal train to go by.
|Real Estate Values
|Properties near the tracks will decrease in value due to the coal trains
|A large increase in coal ship traffic will impact recreational boating in the Puget Sound by making it less safe and less enjoyable.
|Reduction of in-migration
|Many people move to Whatcom County because it is an attractive place to live. This could be reduced or even reversed.
|When coal trains fully use all of the available rail lines, impairing the use of the same lines for growth in passenger service, more traffic will be diverted onto roads such as I-5. There will also be increased road congestion during the construction period.
|Shipping Lane Congestion
|The narrow and complex shipping lanes between Cherry Point and the open ocean already have substantial traffic. Introducing more than 400 new very large ships per year will make existing problems with shipping lane congestion substantially worse.
|Socialized costs, privatized gains
|The project will require or result in many tens of millions of dollars in public costs such as railroad infrastructure, but a majority of the total project revenue will accrue to multi-national companies and won’t even make it back to the United States. Government money should be prioritized on projects where the gains go to the United States.
|Nobody wants to live or work in, or visit, a coal town, for good reason. The coal terminal and related traffic will damage the reputations of affected communities.
|Structural damage to infrastructure
|Vibration from the coal trains will damage nearby buildings and other infrastructure such as roads and sewers, causing accumulated damage and potentially failure.
|Businesses and homes will lose valued views especially out toward the water, for a substantial percent of the time.