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Will Coal Exports Hurt Salmon and Orcas in the Coming Years?
Chinook salmon are expected to return in record numbers this month up the Columbia River, a good sign of the effective conservation measures that government, businesses and organizations have taken since fish counts began in 1938. This is good news not only for the salmon, but also for wildlife like orcas that depend on these fish for their diet, and for commercial and recreational anglers who depend on strong salmon runs for their livelihood.
Unfortunately, the coal industry is proposing export terminals that could reverse this positive trend of a recovering fishery. Two coal exports terminals are currently proposed along the Columbia River, aiming to export up to 60 million tons of coal annually. Over 120,000 people submitted comments last fall calling on state and federal officials to deny the permit for the terminal in Longview, WA. Between now and April 30, we have a similar opportunity to provide public comment on the the proposed terminal in Morrow, Oregon.