Monday, June 18, 2012

Coal: "Cold Ironing" & Other Stuff

It's been a while since I've updated what's going on with the proposed GPT disaster waiting to happen.
A morning visit to a local Doc reminded me what a bad idea this is and that we need to keep talking about it.

One issue everyone can understand is the major impact on water & land-route congestion in the local area, and the airborne pollution that would result if GPT is ever built.

Remember those behemoth ships that would carry our cheap coal to China?
They burn 'Bunker C' fuel; the absolute dregs of petroleum refining, a fuel that rivals coal in its polluting ability.
That's bad enough while the ships are at sea, but they also prefer to keep burning it while in port to generate power for operational purposes.
Many ports have decided not to allow ships to pollute the air while berthed and instead provide alternate power from local power sources that are considered far less objectionable.
Often ship owners resist buying shore power because of increased costs and the need to retrofit the ships to allow its use.
That is a problem that can be -and should be- mitigated upfront by requiring any ships being loaded to use power from land-based sources, a practice called 'Cold-Ironing'.
You can read about it from Wikipedia here.
Let's make sure the EIS addresses this issue!

I'm glad to see the GPT and its proposed retinue of 1.5 mile coal trains and Capesize Bulk Carriers remain a topic of intense conversation and concern.

In the past few weeks there have been a dozen or so Herald articles or blogs addressing this issue:
1 - Coal glut? 
2 - Charlie Sheldon's comments 
3 - New report challenges coal traffic predictions 
4 - County Council struggles with CH2MHill contract for EIS 
5 - BNSF boss lobbies WA Governor 
6 - Democrats pass Resolutions opposing GPT 
7 - Assn of WA Business Head wants EIS expedited 
8 - Former County Planning Chief proposes changes to CH2MHill EIS contract 
9 - Whatcom Docs question lack of Health focus in EIS contract 
10 - CH2MHill to play key role in EIS 
11 - Goldman Sachs upgrades Peabody Coal 
12 - City Council to discuss GPT impacts
Additionally, the Bellingham City Council and Mayor have expressed some additional concerns with troubling omissions to the permit filed with Whatcom County.

Two recent articles on Get Whatcom Planning provide insightful focus and informed perspectives here and here.

Reflecting the above discussions, a local blogger -who deems himself 'conservative'- has posted this writing which purports to give up on defending GPT.
You decide if Wally really means it.