Soundkeeper was happy to see King County Executive Dow Constantine speaking up in the Seattle Times against a proposal to reopen a coal mine in King County.

Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC) has applied for a federal permit to start mining and processing coal again at its coal pit mine, the John Henry No. 1 Coal mine, northeast of Black Diamond. They haven’t mined at the property since 1999.

Soundkeeper and our partners (Sierra Club, Earthjustice, and Climate Solutions) first raised concerns regarding this project in 2014. Just last month, others joined us (Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Fuse Washington, Earthjustice, and Washington Environmental Council) in raising serious concerns about the Final Environmental Assessment prepared by the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation (OSMRE) for this project.

This project threatens local communities with toxic pollution to waterways, air pollution and dust, greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change, and increased truck traffic. PCCC has a history of undisclosed and improper waste disposal at the mine, and based on past actions there is no guarantee they will properly clean up and perform reclamation after mining.

At its heart, this project runs counter to Washington State and King County policies on climate change and coal. Expanded coal mining is not the right path forward. Our state is already moving away from dirty coal by closing coal energy plants and rejecting dangerous coal export terminal proposals. Let’s not jeopardize this progress by doubling down on past mistakes — together we can move forward, not backward, on clean energy.