Washington's Catholic Bishops Call For Broad Review Of Coal Exports

Nov 12, 2013

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Washington's four Catholic bishops have released a statement calling for “exhaustive and independent review” of the state's two coal export terminals under consideration:

The bishops have aligned themselves squarely with environmental and public health groups, and with Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and John Kitzhaber of Oregon, in wanting evaluation of all consequences if the Northwest is to start exporting millions of tons of coal to China.

Seattle P-I notes this isn't the first time the Catholic bishops have taken an environmental stance:

It is the second time in recent years that Catholic bishops have stood boldly on a major regional environmental issue. Five years ago, the Northwest’s bishops advocated restoration of dam-depleted salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin and took note of native American fishing rights.

The 'Coal and Caring for Creation' statement, adopted last week, also brings attention the projects' potential impact on the poor, including a quote from an earlier 2007 letter from the G-8 Summit by seven presidents of the Catholic bishops' conference:

Catholic social teaching, which affirms a special concern for the poor, has long held that people living in poverty are most at risk if we fail in our responsibility to care for creation. “As a result of where they live and their limited access to resources, the poor will experience most directly the harmful effects of climate change and the burdens of any measures to address it, including potential escalating energy costs, worker displacement and health problems.”

-- Toni Tabora-Roberts

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