The decision by the Washington Department of Ecology that the environmental impact study for the proposed Cherry Point coal terminal on Puget Sound will not be limited to the immediate Puget Sound area is good news for all citizens of our state. While we in the Spokane area focus on coal trains, there is another vital consideration. That is the impact of significantly increased freighter traffic upon the marine wildlife of Puget Sound.
One of my primary concerns is the Southern Group of orcas that spend part of their lives inhabiting Puget Sound waters. There are only 82 orcas, divided into three pods, left in the Southern Group. (A Northern Group inhabits Canadian waters.) Scientists based at the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, are very concerned about increased ship traffic creating new and unnecessary hazards for these orcas. Noise generated by large ships, going through water, can interfere with the ability of orcas to safely navigate, find food (mostly fish such as salmon) and protect their young.
We do not need a coal terminal that will make orca survival more difficult. They are a precious resource bringing tourists to our state. Please oppose such unneeded coal terminals.