THE BELLINGHAM HERALD August 19, 2014
Concerned terminal would hurt tribe
The coal terminal proposals that would transport coal along railways from Powder River Basin to the West Coast, stand to cause destruction to the Lummi Nation, Coast Salish tribes, and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.
In particular, Gateway Pacific Terminal, proposed at Cherry Point (Xwe’chi’eXen), I believe presents huge environmental, socio-economic and cultural threats to Pacific Northwest tribes.
According to Lummi Elder Jewell James’s recent Herald Opinion column, 60 percent of Lummis have direct ancestral ties to the Xwe’chi’eXen site, which is the first archaeological site to be placed on the Washington State Register of Historic Places.
The idea that corporations would propose a 48 million ton coal terminal on such an historic and significant site seems almost criminal to me. The 487 Capesize and Panamax vessels which would call yearly on Gateway Pacific Terminal, if built, would have to navigate the sensitive waters in and around Cherry Point where there are already oil tankers calling on two refineries.
That increase in vessel numbers will greatly increase the risk of vessel accidents, and I believe it would harm the Lummi Nation’s ability to exercise its treaty-guaranteed rights to harvest fish and shellfish.
While some supporters of Gateway Pacific Terminal tout the supposed economic prosperity of a 48 million ton coal terminal, do they consider the devastating impacts that the terminal will have for the Lummi Nation?