Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Study: Cherry Point coal terminal would snarl Seattle traffic, cause dangerous delays

The City of Seattle continues to build its case against huge new coal
trains that would rumble through town if an export terminal is built
in Bellingham.

The Mayor of Seattle has released a new study that ups the pressure on
the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology, who are
responsible for the environmental impact study of the proposed
terminal at Cherry Point.

Mayor Mike McGinn says the findings of his study indicate that as many as 18 coal trains per day – each more than a mile long --  would have significant impacts on Seattle, especially
in Belltown and Georgetown, which each have four railroad crossing

“We indicate that railroad crossing gates will be down an additional one to three hours each day – and create significant traffic impacts wit regard to traffic going between the waterfront and the maritime and industrial businesses on the other side of the tracks." McGinn said. "There will be more delay for commuters and there are the potential for impacts to public safety as well. ”

The mayor says he’s working with other politicians around the state to make sure that all the environmental impacts of the terminal are studied.

He says ultimately, the next Governor should put the breaks on the plan, as happened in Oregon. Neither Washington candidate has taken a definitive stance, though McGinn says he has more confidence in former Congressman Jay Inslee to stop the trains, than in Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Proponents of the proposal say the jobs created by construction of a coal terminal are badly needed and that if we
don’t build one, our neighbors in British Columbia will.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to