Assessing the Public Health Impacts of Coal Transportation and Export: From Whatcom County, Washington to Seward, Alaska
Alaska Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE-AK)
Assessing the Public Health Impacts of Coal Transportation and Export:
From Whatcom County, Washington to Seward, Alaska
In light of mounting scientific evidence, physicians are recognizing the public health impacts of coal development and export. In Whatcom County, Washington a group of 160 physicians is calling for a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal project at Cherry Point, citing concerns over increased exposure to diesel particulate matter, coal dust, and noise pollution. In Seward, Alaska where Alaska coal is loaded onto ships bound for Asia, ongoing community concern about coal dust blowing from storage piles and the export facility, spurred a citizen air quality monitoring project. The project aims to answer questions about how much fugitive coal dust is getting into the air residents breathe and what substances it contains. Alaskans are particularly concerned about the public health impacts of increased coal exports in light of proposals to develop new coal mines at Wishbone Hill and Chuitna.
Frank James, MD, is a family physician, public Health Officer for San Juan County and for the Nooksack Indian Nation, and member of the University of Washington School of Public Health faculty. He is on the organizing committee of Whatcom Docs, a group of 190 physicians that are working to bring scientific evaluation of health impacts of the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal north of Bellingham. Dr. James received his PhD in socio-linguistics from Boston University and his MD from the University of Washington.
Denny Larson, is Executive Director of Global Community Monitor, an organization that trains and supports communities in the use of environmental monitoring tools to understand the impact of fossil fuel industry pollution on their health and the environment. Denny has twenty three years of experience as a community organizer and campaigner working with industrial communities fighting for justice. He has assisted communities across the United States and abroad to establish their own air monitoring networks. In March, 2012 Denny traveled to Seward, Alaska to help set up a citizen air quality monitoring project and train volunteers.
Dr. Frank James Presentation Resources:
- Whatcom Docs position statement
- Health Impacts of Coal Transport on Communities, Whatcom Docs Presentation (PDF)
- Whatcom Docs Health Impact Assessment (PDF)
Denny Larson Presentation Resources:
Seward Coal Loading Facility, Aurora Energy, Alaska:
- Citizens to test the air in Seward
- Trustees for Alaska legal documents and photo exhibition
- Groundtruth Trekking Seward Coal Terminal webpage
- SkyTruth Trekking images of Coal Storage
- Briefing Paper: Probable Causes of Adverse Effects of Chronic Coal Dust Exposure on Human and Environmental Health (preliminary analysis) (PDF)
- Letter from Medical Staff of Providence Seward Medical Center (PDF)
- Estimated Mass of Coal Dust in Seward (PDF)
- CSP2 Review of MACTEC Analysis of Seward Air Quality Monitoring (PDF)
- Winter Wind Speeds in Seward, AK (PDF)
Gateway Pacific Terminal project at Cherry Point, WA:
- Whatcom Docs position statement
- Whatcom Docs Website: Coal Train Facts
- Northwest coal export projects could have ‘significant’ public health impacts, EPA says, The Oregonian, 4/13/12
Proposed Wishbone Hill Coal Mine, Sutton, Alaska:
- American Lung Association: Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease
An Update to the Scientific Statement From the American
Heart Association (pdf)
- Information about the Health Hazards of Coal Development at Alaska Community Action on Toxics.
- Alaska has 1/8th of the world’s coal reserves which is 1/2 of the reseves in the United States. Coal development projects have been proposed in much of Alaska. Learn more at: Alaskans for Energy Freedom
- Groundtruth Trekking: Information from the ground on Alaska Coal. Learn more about active coal projects in Alaska:
- Chuitna Citizen’s Coalition: concerned about coal development of the Chuitna watershed in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
- Alaska Community Action on Toxics: State Subsidies Threaten Your Health
- Alaska Conservation Alliance: What’s your vision for Alaska?
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Posted in 2012 CHE-AK