Sunday February 17th I participated in a rally and march against the proposed coal train that’s being proposed to run through Seattle on its way up to the port of Everett before being shipped to China. The protest, held at Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park on the shores of Shilshole Bay, drew several hundred.
Holding three-dimensional paper fish with signs saying, “I’m sick from coal,” the rally boasted several speakers including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who opposes the coal train.
At issue here is a proposed coal train that will carry several trainloads of coal through Seattle on the way to Everett to ship coal to China. China is now a world leader in greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the rail line up to Everett lies along Puget Sound. If there were ever a derailment, miles of Puget Sound could be affected. Puget Sound’s basin is shaped such that any toxic spill would be nearly impossible to clean up. The area is a very fragile ecosystem yet provides a lot of food in terms of fish and shellfish. There is also the fact that up to sixteen more trains a day are proposed. For anyone who’s been to SODO (south of downtown), you know how much train traffic snarls traffic already. Sixteen more trains would make this worse and tie up commerce even more. Mayor McGinn named several businesses that were bringing jobs to the area. He also mentioned that investing in clean and renewable energy sources bring about the same jobs brought by fossil fuels.
Currently coal is blamed as the highest source for global warming. The whole world, including China, needs to look at renewable and clean energy sources instead of simply relying on finite and deadly sources.
Proceeding the rally, people formed a human train and marched along the nearby bike trail (which used to be a RR right of way until being turned into a biking/hiking trail about 35 years ago). Running right alongside this trail lay the same tracks that would carry the proposed coal trains. Marchers walked a mile and a half, crossing streets, crossing the aforementioned RR tracks and congregating in the parking lot of Ray’s Boathouse restaurant before dispersing.
This protest against the coal train has been going on for more than a year and was organized as an alternative to the massive march in D.C. on the same day to support environmental causes including the tar sands pipeline. For those of us who couldn’t make it to D.C., this was a way of saying, “Not in our backyard!”
Photos property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.