City of Seattle Legislative Information Service

Information retrieved on January 20, 2017 6:16 PM

Resolution Number: 31379

A RESOLUTION stating The City of Seattle’s opposition to transporting coal across Washington State and through Seattle due to negative health impacts and negative impacts to the Earth’s climate.

Status: Adopted
Date adopted by Full Council: May 29, 2012
Vote: 9-0

Date introduced/referred to committee: May 7, 2012
Committee: Energy and Environment
Sponsor: O’BRIEN
Committee Recommendation: Adopt
Date of Committee Recommendation: May 22, 2012
Committee Vote: 2 (O'Brien, Burgess) - 0


Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note to Resolution 31379

Electronic Copy: PDF scan of Resolution No. 31379


WHEREAS, mounting evidence demonstrates the negative health impacts of coal mining, processing, transport and combustion; and

WHEREAS, air quality studies show living near major transportation routes and industrial areas correlates with higher rates of respiratory and other illnesses; and

WHEREAS, studies show mining and burning coal releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, accelerating climate deterioration, and the mining of coal can result in erosion and toxic waste; and

WHEREAS, Washington State recognizes the negative economic, public health, and environmental impacts of climate change on this state (80.80 RCW; Executive Order No. 0905); and

WHEREAS, Washington State and other states are taking steps toward reducing American dependence on coal-fired power, including the 2011 passage of the TransAlta Energy Transition Bill, making possible the retirement of the state’s last coal-fired power plant by 2025; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle previously passed Resolutions 30316 and 31312 supporting efforts to curb global warming, adopting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for The City of Seattle, and calling for continuing and new actions toward achieving those goals; and

WHEREAS, coal is commonly transported via open-top rail cars that allow the spread of coal dust and chunks of coal; and

WHEREAS, it is anticipated that new coal export terminals in Western Washington will result in an increase in coal train traffic of at least 9 additional trains per day through Seattle, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Everett, Bellingham, and other cities along rail corridors; and

WHEREAS, Washington State has been a national leader in creating clean-energy jobs and innovating, developing, demonstrating, and marketing clean energy technologies and practices that promote sustainable global economic development, and coal export promotes damaging and unsustainable energy development practices; NOW, THEREFORE,


Section 1. The City of Seattle opposes the establishment of coal export terminals in Washington State and supports economic growth that does not jeopardize Washington State’s commitment to fight the serious impacts of climate change.

Section 2. The City of Seattle intends to address any impacts to public health, safety, property, and surface and groundwater caused by the transport of coal through Seattle by actively enforcing generally applicable local public health, safety, building, electrical, nuisance, and fire codes and by actively enforcing applicable federal environmental statutes delegated to The City of Seattle.

Section 3. The City of Seattle will request that the railroad make public any plans for new or expanded rail facilities or significant rail traffic volume increases within Seattle city limits.

Section 4. The City of Seattle will request that the railroad provide representatives to meet periodically with local citizen groups and local government officials from Seattle to seek mutually acceptable ways to address local concerns.

Section 5. The City of Seattle will request that the railroad mitigate any public safety hazards created by the transport of coal through Seattle.

Section 6. The City of Seattle will request that the railroad monitor the loading of coal at the mines and at any transfer points as part of the contract(s) with the coal companies to assure best loading practices and to reduce the amount of coal and coal dust coming out of rail cars in route.

Section 7. For any coal loading facilities located within Seattle, The City of Seattle will:

a) require all locally applicable permits and approvals be obtained for the operation of such a facility,

b) fully enforce public nuisance and municipal land use restrictions,

c) require any piles of coal stored on the property to be fully covered, and

d) require that the facility use a covered loading process to reduce health and safety impacts.

Section 8. The City of Seattle will request that the railroad draft road improvement plans for intersections that would be impacted by rail traffic increases, and require the railroad to cover the cost of those upgrades as part of the mitigation for increase in rail traffic.

Adopted by the City Council the ____ day of ____________________, 2012, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this________ day

of ______________________, 2012.


President ___________of the City Council



Michael McGinn, Mayor

Filed by me this ____ day of ________________________, 2012.


Monica Martinez Simmons, City Clerk


Meg Moorehead LEG coal train RES May 3, 2012 Version #4b