Concerned citizens throughout the Northwest have heard mixed messages about coal exports since the proposals were first announced. Some fringe groups have used scare tactics and misinformation in an attempt to derail the projects. As an officer of the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, I encourage you to evaluate each of these projects and decide for yourself based on the facts. Let's take a look at what we know is true.
First, Asia will not stop burning coal anytime soon. If Powder River Basin (from Wyoming and Montana) coal is not shipped to Asia from the Northwest, it will be shipped from Louisiana and Texas.
Second, new technologies in the transportation of coal have virtually eliminated coal dust from trains and barges.
Third, tax contributions would help fund our schools and other public services.
Lastly, our region is facing very high unemployment. These projects would create thousands of much-needed family-wage jobs in our communities.
Don't be fooled by scare tactics. The facts paint a clear picture of what coal export projects will mean for the Northwest: Good jobs and strong communities.
Jodi Guetzloe Parker