Coal, Communities, Commerce, and China: A Nexus for the Sciences and Public Policy

Sunday, February 17, 2013: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 204 (Hynes Convention Center)
The largest coal export terminal in North America, known as the Gateway Pacific Terminal, is proposed for Cherry Point, Washington. Sub-bituminous coal mined in Wyoming/Montana’s Powder River basin is to be transported more than 1,100 miles on 1.5-mile-long trains through Idaho, along the Columbia River Gorge, and north through major population centers along the Puget Sound Rail Corridor, including Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, and Bellingham, at a rate of nine trains per day. At the terminal, the coal will be loaded onto nearly 500 Panamax or Capesize bulk ore carriers annually and shipped to China and other Asian markets. Input from many disciplines is needed to inform the complex public policy–making and decision-making process. Proponents -- coal, marine, and railroad companies; venture capitalists; and some local business owners -- argue that the terminal-catalyzed economic growth, including local jobs, warrants huge private investments and some public risks. Opponents -- other business owners and local and regional citizen advocates -- argue that risks to human health, emergency services, land and marine environments, the loss of existing jobs, and shipping coal overseas to fuel power plants are too great to allow the terminal to be built. This symposium will discuss the intersection of science and policy, as communities mobilize and as environmental impact statements are prepared and then reviewed by local, state, and federal agencies and decision-makers.
Donna Gerardi Riordan, DGR Strategies
Dan Kammen, University of California
Energy and the Coal Economy
Melissa Ahern, Washington State University
Impact of Exposure to Coal Dust on Animal and Human Health
Pamela Campos, Environmental Defense Fund
Timely Science To Inform Laws and Public Policy
David Schlissel, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Beyond the Hype: The Full Economic Impacts of Using Coal
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