Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Featured

Coal Mine near Seattle Files to Reopen by Matt Remle

Coal Mine near Seattle Files to Reopen by Matt Remle

The John Henry Mine, formerly known as the Black Diamond Mine, located just 30 miles south of Seattle has recently filed for permits to resume its coal mining operations.

The mine had been in on and off operation from the late 1800’s to 1999 when it closed down. Recently, the mines owners began the process of obtaining permits to reopen its mining operations. Unlike the contentious proposed coal export terminals, which would bring coal via rail from the Powder River basin to West Coast shipping terminals, the John Henry Mine would transport the coal via trucks and ship to cement plants in the Northwest and British Columbia, including Seattle’s Ash Grove Cement.

John Henry coal mine

John Henry coal mine

Ash Grove Cement (located just four miles from my home) is Seattle’s largest polluter and the countries sixth largest cement producer. Last summer, Ash Grove Cement paid a $2.5 million dollar fine for violations to the Clean Air Act.

Ash Grove Cement

Ash Grove Cement

If reopened, the John Henry Mine estimates it will produce roughly 80,000 tons of coal per year for the next five years.

Northwest communities and tribes are already under assault from massive coal and oil transportation projects. Trains carrying Bakken shale oil and coal currently pass through our communities, tribes, and natural environments at ever increasing rates. It seems the Northwest has become the epicenter for the transportation and exporting of coal and oil.

The late Billy Frank Jr stated often that treaty rights to fish would become meaningless words if there were no fish in the waters due to increased pollution. Northwest communities and tribes need to stand firm in opposition to the potential opening of John Henry Mine, current coal and oil transport projects and the proposed coal export terminals for the health and well-being of our relatives and next generations.