Wave Maker’s News: Coal Terminals Expanding in the Dirty South

This article is excerpted from Wave Makers News, our quarterly update on all things water in the Gulf of Mexico, check out the full newsletter here.Coal and petroleum coke pollution in the Mississippi River. Photo courtesy of Dubinsky Photography for LeanWeb.org and LMRK.org. Flight courtesy of Southwings.org.If you pay attention to environmental and global warming news, you very well might have heard about the proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest. Coal use in the United States has gone down, so now some of the dirtiest companies in the country are looking to export this carbon that should be staying in the ground.Activists in the Northwest have been putting up a great fight, and have up to this point been very successful in stopping these exports; so now Big Coal is eying the Gulf Coast to get their coal to international markets. The Gulf Coast has often been treated as America’s Energy Sacrifice Zone, and it looks like Big Coal wants us to take another hit.So why should we be concerned? The reasons are many:Burning this coal overseas will cause health problems in nearby areas, but also exacerbate global warming throughout the world, leading to a rising sea and more intense storms.New and expanding terminals along the Mississippi River will be discharging coal dust and runoff, polluting neighboring communities, wetlands, and the Mississippi.One proposed export facility will be right next to a proposed Louisiana coastal restoration project, the Myrtle Grove sediment diversion. This new facility could impact the placement of the project, change the dynamics of the river, and pollute the water and sediment that would be used to restore Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.Due to the impacts to the land, water, wetlands, air, and communities, we should not allow this expansion of coal export facilities in the Gulf. GRN is working with our partners to make sure that the Gulf doesn’t become a victim, once again, to polluting energy profiteers.Matt Rota is GRN’s Director of Science and Water Policy.

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