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Published: Friday, January 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Coal trains

Appalachia offers cautionary tale

 Growing up in West Virginia, I witnessed the coal industry's destruction of mountain communities and was shocked to learn of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. Despite environmental regulations, 1.4 million acres of the Appalachian Mountain range have been legally destroyed by GPT affiliate companies and others. Sadly, contrary to the touted economic benefits, coal communities are treated no better than the land suffering above average rates of poverty, cancer, birth defects, and cardio-respiratory disease.
Mining in West Virginia may seem far removed from the proposed GPT, but these are the same powerful corporations with the same profit-driven interests and lack of concern for the environment and public health. EIS studies have failed the people of Appalachia in ways we can not afford to repeat.
Our essential power as citizens lies in our participation in the scoping process. We have until Jan. 21. Need we align ourselves with corporations who warn economic salvation is inevitably linked with strip mining and abetting the shipment of the dirtiest fuel on the planet to Asian markets 10,000 miles away? Or will we build upon the unity created by this process, pooling our collective intellect, talents, and dreams, to realize something better. Something that offers sustained economic prosperity while protecting the land and people we hold most dear. The choice is ours:

Nathan Malcomb
Sedro Woolley
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at or 425-339-3472.