There is an area North of Bellingham called Cherry Point. It was set aside for heavy industry and was created so that all of the environmental concerns could be kept in one location. It hosts a petroleum refinery and an Alcoa Aluminum plant.
Recently, there has been a push to add a coal terminal. The Western states are sitting on several hundred years worth of coal reserves and China is hungry for the energy.
Needless to say, this has been a cause celebre for the environmentalists. People who have never seen a coal mine are wailing about how evil and dirty coal is. Lulu and I toured a coal mine when we went to the Blacksmithing conference in South Dakota and coal is perfectly clean. Adding to the irony, even our oldest coal-burning plants are orders of magnitude cleaner than the plants that China is building so it would be better for the environment to burn it here. [set rant=off]
Anyway, our friends to the North have grown tired of waiting for us to act. From Reuters:
Canada's largest port approves $15 mln coal transfer project
Port Metro Vancouver, Canada's largest port, said on Thursday it has approved a new facility to transfer coal from trains onto barges at Fraser Surrey Docks, a decision that followed lengthy public scrutiny over the project's environmental and health impact.
After a permitting process lasting more than two years and including environmental impact, air quality and other human health assessments, the port said it found no "unacceptable risks" in allowing the $15 million project to move forward.
The Fraser Surrey Docks terminal would handle up to 4 million metric tonnes of coal from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co (BNSF) each year, loading it on barges bound for Texada Island, north of Vancouver, where it would be transferred to large vessels for export.
Every ton of coal that moves through that terminal will be taxed. Every ton of coal that moves through that terminal will need people to move it - hundreds of jobs. Our county just lost out on a major economic boon.