KCTS tackles hot topic of coal

A documentary looking at the debate on whether to build coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest is planned to air next week on the public broadcasting channel KCTS.

“COAL” is billed as exploring the future of America’s coal, from the mines of Wyoming and Montana to the waters of Washington and Oregon where new terminals are being planned that would ship millions of tons of coal to the rest of the world.

The show is scheduled to air at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. It’s produced by KCTS and EarthFix, a public media partnership of Pacific Northwest stations focused on reporting stories about environmental issues.

“As I produced this film, it became clear that the issue of coal trains travelling through the Northwest is more than just a regional story. It’s a story with national and international reach,” said Katie Campbell, one of the filmakers. “What happens here — in this corner of the country — will have a huge impact on our nation’s energy policy, the country’s economic recovery, and our foreign relations with the fastest growing superpowers in Asia,”

While the terminals are expected to bring thousands of jobs to the Northwest, people in Washington, including Snohomish County, are concerned about the rail traffic. There’s worry about environmental issues, including coal dust blowing off the rail cars and pollution from burning more fossil fuels.

Filmakers Campbell and Michael Werner promise to take the viewers from inside some of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world to a mountaintop research station to massive cargo ships that navigate the Columbia River, which might one day carry coal through the Northwest.

Additional airdates: 10 p.m. Wednesday, 3 a.m. June 21, 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. June 23 and 1:30 p.m. June 27. Watch online anytime at KCTS9.org/coal.

Free screening

The public is invited to a free screening of COAL, including a panel discussion with the filmmakers and the EarthFix team, June 26 at Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave., Seattle. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and the documentary will screen at 7:30 p.m., followed by the panel discussion. For more information about the public screening, email outreach@kcts9.org, call 1-800-930-6060 or visit http://kcts9.org/events/coal-screening.

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