The Latest Dirty Coal Threat to Endangered Orcas

from Wildlife Promise

Since 1900, Puget Sound Chinook salmon populations have declined 93% and nine runs of Chinook have gone extinct. Orca whales, which eat primarily salmon, have declined by half. Source: Minette Layne/WikiMedia Commons

Since 1900, Puget Sound Chinook salmon populations have declined 93% and nine runs of Chinook have gone extinct. Orca whales, which eat primarily salmon, have declined by half. Source: Minette Layne/WikiMedia Commons

As another proposal for a massive coal export terminal in the Pacific Northwest barrels through the review and approval process, officials are hearing a force of voices from across the region warning of threats to the environment, wildlife and important tribal lands.

The proposed terminal, the second largest in the nation, would severely impact wildlife habitat and the legendary salmon runs that endangered Puget Sound orcas depend on.

A Terrible Toll for the Pacific Northwest Ecosystem

Southern Resident Orcas rely on a diet almost exclusively of salmon that swim into the Puget Sound from fresh waters like the Columbia River. Sadly, the once thriving Pacific salmon that return every year to the rivers and streams of the Northwest have been decimated due to habitat loss and are now critically endangered.  If approved, the proposed coal export terminal on the shoreline of the Columbia River would take a terrible toll on the ecosystem that salmon and orcas depend on. Coal dust would billow into the river from towering piles of coal and enormous cargo ships would converge on the fragile marine habitats that salmon and orcas depend on for survival.

Speaking Out Against Coal Export Terminals

Coal Export Public Hearing Attendees

Almost 2000 people showed up at a public hearing to speak out about the coal export terminal proposed for the Columbia River Basin. Photo by Micheal O’Leary

Thousands have attended public hearings across the Northwest, pressing state regulators and the Army Corps of Engineers to say no to proposals to build coal export terminals in the region. Tribal governments throughout the region have unanimously gone on record opposed to coal exports, and tribal community leaders have united in the carving and raising of a new totem pole telling the story of this fight to defend their land. Public opposition to coal exports is growing in every corner of the Northwest.

We are gaining critical momentum in the fight for orcas against dirty coal, but we can’t stop yet. By voicing opposition to the terminal and its impacts on sensitive habitat, you can help stop the terminal and safeguard orcas, salmon and other wildlife that live in or near the Columbia River Basin.


Take Action ButtonAdd your voice to the newest fight for endangered orcas against Big Coal: Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent coal export at Longview, Washington.