A Clean Columbia River – For the Orca!

Dear Safe Shippers,
Let’s continue with that awesome Orca Protectors Power we generated in the July 4th Parade by writing to our state’s Department of Ecology to ask them to deny the water quality permit for Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River. They need to hear from us ASAP — the deadline is this Thursday, July 27!
Coal terminals and healthy orcas don’t mix! The Columbia River may be many miles away from our homes in the Salish Sea, but we are connected because of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. Our resident orcas swim that long distance, following the salmon (the Columbia Chinook salmon is also listed as endangered). Safe Shippers have commented on various stages of this project in the past, and we won’t stop now, because what happens on the Columbia River affects us and we need to tell about it! The proposed coal export project in Longview, if approved, would increase the number of vessels navigating the Columbia to and from Asia. Any increase in ships, and their hazardous cargo and fuel, elevates the risk of accidents and spills in the river and surrounding coastal waters – salmon waters – further jeopardizing the orcas’ fragile existence.
We need to ask the Department of Ecology to deny the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for this coal terminal project, because clean water is a must for the survival of salmon and orcas and humans.
My name is _______. I am a resident (visitor, property owner…) of San Juan County (and/or the Salish Sea) whose tourism-based economy and quality of life rely on the culturally-significant and federally-listed-as-endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. I am concerned about the potential impacts from the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export project on the health of the orca whales that spend time at the mouth of the Columbia River where they feed on upper Columbia and Snake River Chinook salmon (also listed as endangered). These salmon rely on clean rivers and streams for survival, therefore I am asking that you please deny Section 401 Water Quality Certification for this project.
Thank you.
Department of Ecology comment portal:
Personal letters are the most effective, but if you prefer, you can choose to sign any (or all) of these online petitions:
Sierra Club
Friends of the Earth
Power Past Coal
Stand Up to Oil Campaign
Washington State Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance: Section 401 Water Quality Certification
“What is the Purpose of this Certification? Issuance of a Section 401 Certification means that Ecology has reasonable assurance that the applicant’s project will comply with state water quality standards and other aquatic resources protection requirements under Ecology’s authority.”
Earthjustice: Conservation groups intervene to defend Washington State against coal exporter’s lawsuit. 
“Columbia Riverkeeper, Washington Environmental Council and Sierra Club – represented by Earthjustice — took steps to defend the Washington Department of Natural Resources against a high-profile lawsuit filed by backers of the nation’s largest coal export terminal. On Feb. 2, Millennium Bulk Logistics and NW Alloys (a subsidiary of Alcoa) sued the Washington Department of Natural Resources after the department denied a key lease needed for Millennium to operate a proposed 44 million ton per year coal export terminal along the Columbia River.
The Columbian: Millennium Bulk Terminal lands pretrial win in court. 
“A Cowlitz County judge handed Millennium Bulk Terminals and Northwest Alloys a small early win Wednesday in its challenge to the state’s denial of an aquatic lands lease for the proposed Longview coal dock. At a preliminary hearing, Judge Stephen Warning agreed to Millennium’s request break the upcoming trial into two parts: In the first part, Warning will decide on the scope of the case and lay the framework for the types of arguments the parties can make. In the second part, Warning will decide on whether the state Department of Natural Resources acted legally when it denied Millennium a sublease it needs to build its $680 million coal dock at the old Reynolds Metals aluminum site.”
The Daily News: Coal terminal gets first permit from county. 
“Cowlitz County Building and Planning officials issued a Critical Areas Permit, the first of eight permits the company needs from the county.Overall, the company needs 23 permits from various federal, state and local agencies. Yet Millennium officials say this is an important first step in permitting the Columbia River terminal.”
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