New poll results show that Washingtonians largely support proposed coal terminals along the state’s coastline. In true measured Northwest form though, they want to know more.
By Floyd McKay
Coal-export terminals at Bellingham and Longview are supported by half of Washingtonians. At least according to the first comprehensive poll of public support for the controversial ports, released Wednesday. More than 400 households were polled for the survey, with a significant number of those polled still looking for more details on the plans.
The Elway Poll announced similar though slightly less supportive results than polling in recent months by terminal supporters: Overall, 50 percent supported the export terminals, 32 percent were opposed and 19 percent undecided. Only 60 percent of responders knew about the proposals, and half of them knew no details.
The most surprising result of the Elway Poll was respondents’ support for a regional — rather than just localized — review of coal ports’ impacts. Forty-eight percent were in favor, with 43 percent against. That’s up sharply from a January poll for the pro-terminals group Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports, which found that 77 percent of Washingtonians opposed a regional review.
In the end, the decision on the scope of the terminals’ review will be made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in concert with Whatcom County (site of GPT), Cowlitz County (the site for Longview’s proposed Millenium terminal) and the Washington Department of Ecology. Public testimony at seven statewide hearings on the Gateway Pacific Terminal will help drive their considerations, as will legal precedents and political pressures.
(To read the full article, go to crosscut.com/2013/01/30/coal-ports/112739/washington-supports-coal-wants-more-info