I fully support the Army Corps of Engineer’s decision to reject the permit for Pacific International Terminal to construct what would have been North America’s largest export terminal for coal.
As the protests in Anacortes this past weekend showed, people are tired of the dependence on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, until alternatives are actively pursued, many of us have to still use gasoline-ran vehicles, and products produced using petroleum. But this is past week was a step in the right direction.
Not only do we not need a terminal that will transport a dying commodity (one of the main coal companies which was going to be utilizing the terminal, Peabody Energy, applied for chapter 11 bankruptcy insurance in April), but the increase of commercial traffic through the Salish Sea could prove hazardous to wildlife.
Herring spawn in the waters where the Gateway Pacific Terminal was going to be built. A decrease in herring causes a domino effect throughout the ecosystem. Salmon feast on the herring, and the salmon population has been dwindling steadily over the years. The orcas we are so well known for are not flourishing as they eat the salmon that eat the herring.
Army Corps of Engineers Colonel John Buck states that the impact the GPT would have on the Lummi Nation’s ancestral water rights is more than an acceptable amount. I agree. The Native American population deserves the right to observe the traditions they’re allowed. In fact, they deserve more – but this acknowledgement by the government that the tribe has the right to its traditional fishing territories, which they traded their land to maintain, is progress.
Article six of the United States’ Constitution says, “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” That means encroaching on treaty-given waters, no matter how insignificant a corporation may view said encroachment, is unconstitutional.
My fear now is that PIT, or a related company, will go into Canada and try to develop a terminal there. If that were to happen, Canada would be seeing the economical benefit of making the deal, while the waters of Salish Sea would still face the risk of contamination from a maritime disaster.
I hope that if any company does attempt to go this route, Canada rejects their permit as well.