FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Contact: Crystal Gartner, 509.209.2395,
509.850.7332 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Krista Collard, 415.977.5619, 614.622.9109
Power Past Coal Launches First
Television Ad Warning of Threats from Coal Export
Commercial hits prime time in
Spokane, WA- Today, the grassroots
group made up of thousands of residents opposing dangerous coal exports,
released its first television commercial demonstrating
the serious risks facing local Northwest families. Highlighting the deadly
threat of delayed emergency response times, the new ad spells out just one of
several threats facing communities across the region. Places like Spokane, Spokane
Valley, and Cheney in Eastern Washington are facing 60 new coal trains daily,
which could cut off emergency responders for up to 15 minutes each.
Julie Strandquist, a Registered Nurse in Spokane, says that
delayed emergency response times are just one of many concerns that keep her up
at night. "We're looking at plans for nearly 150 million tons of coal to
be shipped through our town each day. That means mile and a half long coal
trains clogging up traffic day and night--that isn't just a nuisance,
it could be downright deadly," she says. "We all know that in times
of an emergency, every second counts. It's frightening to think that our
ambulances and fire trucks could be sitting idle for 15 minutes while a coal
train passes through town to make its way to the coast."
A rail report released in July by
the Western Organization of Resource Councils entitled Heavy Traffic
Ahead highlights the incredible traffic delays Northwest communities
are bound to face if the slated 150 million tons of coal from the Powder River
Basin in Montana and Wyoming is allowed to be hauled to the West Coast to be
shipped to Asia.
Nearly 300 health professionals, 88 faith leaders, and 400
local businesses (mostly from smaller rail line communities) have either voiced
their concerns or come out against coal export off the West Coast. Members of
the Power Past Coal coalition and nearly 100 public officials have
called on the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full evaluation of all five
of the proposals. If conducted properly, the evaluation would include a full
review of all coal export impacts through the Northwest, from mine to rail and
from port to plant, as well as a full public hearing process.
"Even if only one of these five proposals is able to
move forward, our families in Spokane, Spokane Valley, and all along the rail
line will still be forced to take on all of the risks that come along with coal
export, without receiving any of the benefits. That's unsafe and unfair,"
said Strandquist. "Communities across the region deserve a seat at the
table, and that's why we're demanding a full review by the Army Corps of
Engineers," she added.
addition to longer wait times at rail crossing for emergency responders, health
professionals have also raised concerns about health impacts to the possible
increase from coal-train traffic, especially exposure to more diesel exhaust,
coal dust, and rail accidents. So far this summer there have been a dozen
coal-train derailments across the country, including one in Washington State in
early July. Two of the accidents resulted in deaths and all of them
resulted in tie-ups and spilled coal.
For more information about the campaign to protect families from
dangerous coal export, watch the new commercial here, and visit www.PowerPastCoal.org.
POWER PAST COAL is an alliance of health, environmental, clean-energy, faith and
community groups working to stop coal export off the West Coast.