Fisheries: Coal facilities would threaten salmon
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
Tillamook fishing company operator Bob Rees is one of several industry types calling on officials to carefully consider the potential impact of coal export facilities.
Oregon’s fishing industry advocates have stepped into the debate over new coal shipments in the Pacific Northwest.
Representatives of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and Northwest Guides and Anglers Association said potential pollution from the shipments could seep into waterways and threaten the livelihoods of those working in fisheries.
"The science is out: coal is a significant contributor to ocean acidification, which we know to harm the phytoplankton that forms an essential layer of the marine food web that salmon and countless other species depend upon," said Bob Rees, of the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association. "The fishing industry is in a fight to stay viable ... The salmon are all we have left before our industry implodes. We can’t allow coal to compromise this keystone species."
Supporters of coal export facilities in the Pacific Northwest, including a proposed spot near Boardman in Oregon, have long maintained the strategy would create hundreds of jobs.
The fishing industry groups respond that thousands within their sector would no longer be able to make a living if pollution from coal dust contaminates the Columbia River.
The groups signed on to a petition calling for the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Academy of Sciences to carefully study the export facility proposals.
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