Coal activists (yeas and nays) split over poll results
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
As coal proponents and opponents prep for an upcoming hearing in Longview, a new poll suggests that voters aren’t horribly keen on coal exports in general.
The poll, by researcher Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, found that 54 percent of Oregon residents surveyed oppose proposed coal export facilities, compared to 39 percent who support them. In Washington, 51 percent oppose the proposals while 37 percent back them.
The Power Past Coal group commissioned the survey, which also found that opposition to the proposals, among 1,200 voters likely to cast ballots in both states, has grown in the past year, according to Power Past Coal.
“It’s like an onion: the more layers you peel back the more you realize what a stinky deal this would be for our communities, economy and planet,” said Beth Doglio, co-director of the Power Past Coal coalition.
Doglio’s group this week released television ads detailing her group’s concern about coal trains.
The proposed Longview coal export terminal would ship roughly 44 million tons of coal a year to China, South Korea and India. Some 16 coal trains per day would run through Washington, according to opponents.
Proponents slammed the survey.
“The slanting and phrasing of some of the questions lead us to believe that this poll is nothing more than a propaganda ploy by opponents of increased trade,” said Lauri Hennessey, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports. “Recent surveys demonstrate widespread support for these projects, which would expand ports to export more goods, including coal.
“It’s a simple question: do we want to strengthen our trade economy and create jobs, or don’t we? Other arguments opponents raise have been debunked. These port facilities will strengthen our region for the long-term. Working families deserve better than this from out-of-state activist groups.”
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