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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor McGinn to testify in Congress on local impacts of coal trains proposal

6/18/2013  8:00:00 AM

Mayor McGinn to testify in Congress on local impacts of coal trains proposal
House Subcommittee on Energy and Power to hold hearing today at 7:15 a.m. PST

Mayor Mike McGinn and Climate Solutions Policy Director KC Golden are testifying this morning in the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Power Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce on the local impacts of the proposals to expand coal exports to China. The subcommittee begins at 7:15 PST, with McGinn’s and Golden’s testimony falling toward the end of the agenda. The hearing will be webcast on their website.

“I am working with a growing coalition of elected officials, tribal leaders, business leaders and advocates who oppose more coal trains rolling through our communities,” said McGinn. “We know in Seattle that 18 new additional coal trains a day will cause significant negative traffic and public health impacts. At a time when we are close to powering down the last coal plant in Washington State, we shouldn’t be moving forward on  coal export proposals that would pump more carbon into our atmosphere than the Keystone XL oil pipeline.”

“We’re building our future on a foundation of clean energy, healthy communities, and sustainable prosperity,” said Golden. “Coal export is the exact opposite of that vision – a losing economic strategy and an irreversible climate disaster.  All we’re asking for is a comprehensive, rigorous, and transparent evaluation of the impacts and costs before public coal leases, subsidies, and permits are offered to the coal industry.  We’re confident the facts will speak for themselves.”

“The risks not only to our tribe can be devastating, but also to the entire region,” said Chairman Melvin Sheldon, Jr., of the Tulalip Tribes and member of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal. “We’ve made substantial retail investments that depend heavily on quality of life. Tulalip supports job creation. We are one of the largest employers in Snohomish County and contribute to economic solvency in the Northwest. However, we do not support an industry such as this one that we believe will damage our natural and cultural resources or diminish existing jobs in our region. We as leaders need to protect our treaty resources, sacred sites, local economies, and the human health of our citizens and neighbors. I hope that this national discussion continues and helps grow our Alliance even more.”

The Tulalip Tribe is the second largest employer in Marysville (next to Boeing) and has one of the most prosperous fishing fleets in Western Washington. Chairman Sheldon is also an elected representative of the affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians who recently had all 57 Tribes pass a resolution opposing the exportation of fossil fuel energy in the northwest based on the impacts to treaty rights, economy, human health and quality of life for all Washington citizens.

On Earth Day 2013, McGinn was joined by leaders from across Washington State to announce a new Leadership Alliance Against Coal. 52 elected leaders have now joined this coalition against expanding coal exports to China, including Seattle City Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw, Richard Conlin, Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien.

“The City of Spokane cannot afford to have additional Coal Trains coming through that disrupt truck routes, emergency services and the health of our citizens.  In addition we must address Climate Change as elected leaders and must take action.  I am proud to be part of the Leadership Alliance and look forward to working with Tribal and elected leaders across the state to represent our communities,” said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart and member of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal.

“This increased rail traffic will have a significant impact on our local community by among other things increasing traffic congestion, creating a higher risk of accidents, decreasing our ability to provide effective emergency response times, impacting local commerce, and interfering with local truck freight delivery systems also affecting the local economy, said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and member of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal.

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