It may be because I’m in the thick of an environmental law class at the moment (one of the core classes for my Masters program), or it may just be that I am more in tune with what is going on with the water in Puget Sound these days… If you’ve been watching the news at all lately you’ve seen stories about the coal terminals that have been proposed for western Washington and the coal trains that are planned to transport their product over the rails in this part of the country. The plan is for the coal to be scratched out of the ground in Wyoming and sent to China, to fuel their power plants that provide the energy they need to make cheap plastic geegaws to send to Walmart for Americans to buy, break and dump in a landfill.
OK, that’s a largely simplified and incomplete accounting of the situation as it stands but the point is still valid. Not only is the process polluting and damaging the environment at every stage of its unfolding but it is already affecting the waters of the Sound. I know, the coal companies and their apologists say that the export process will provide jobs, and maybe it will. But the salaries for those those jobs will be deducted from the quality of life of the people of this region, from our children and their children as well.
It’s a thorny issue, and it can get political. But it shouldn’t. It should be a question of whether we are in the process of moving forward or backward and how our choices affect the planet.