Power Past Coal

coaltrainAll major religious denominations are questioning the use of coal as a power source. Mining, processing, and burning coal destroys creation in many ways, from the ravaged mountain tops of the Appalachian plateau to coal ash landslides and toxic sediment in river valleys. Global warming pollution from coal plants exacerbates droughts and floods for the poorest of God’s children around the world, those whose meager crops require a reliable climate for subsistence.

Religious communities around the country have led the successful fight against new coal plants. In 2011, Earth Ministry played a central role in the agreement to close TransAlta in Washington State. Now we are taking the lead in opposing coal export.

Photo: Paul K. Anderson

Photo: Paul K. Anderson

Coal companies, seeing little future growth domestically, have a new plan: strip-mine coal in Montana and Wyoming, transport it on long coal trains and massive cargo ships through Washington and Oregon, and sell it to Asia. Exporting coal from Northwest ports pollutes our air and water and violates our religious values.

Coal mining and shipping leaves a devastated landscape and pollutes water and skies around the world. Every step of the coal-fired process is dangerous to human health, from mining and processing to transporting to burning and waste. Coal burning is poor stewardship. For the first time in our country, our children may not inherit a better world. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are already more than twice as many jobs in wind and solar power than in the entire coal industry. Coal is an enemy of the common good. Big coal companies want to take our country backward and damage the world we leave our children by blocking solutions to the serious problem of climate change. The religious community knows that climate disrup­tion is real and won’t be deceived. People of faith are standing up to the big coal companies and saying NO to coal export from Northwest ports.

WAIPL-coal-hearing-MAPS-editFaith communities have been influential in each aspect of the transition away from coal and toward clean energy. We do this because of our love of creation, and our call to justice and the common good.

Earth Ministry leads the faith voice in the Power Past Coal campaign. Unite your voice in stewardship for creation.

News and Events


UCC church in Seattle hosts totem pole blessing

University Congregational United Church of Christ, an Earth Ministry Greening Congregation, hosted the Seattle leg of the 2017 Totem Pole Journey. The totem pole stopped in Seattle on October 14. University UCC opened its doors to more than 350 people who came to learn more…
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Help defeat coal export in Longview for good

For years, people of faith around Washington and across the country have spoken out against the proposal to construct the nation’s largest coal export terminal in Longview, Washington on the Columbia River. We have uplifted shared values of justice, responsibility, and stewardship in numerous rounds…
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Faith grows greener in the era of Donald Trump

Earth Ministry’s Jessie Dye is quoted in this article from “The Economist” discussing the impact of the current administration’s actions, motivating people of faith to increase their involvement, engagement, and activism with regard to the environment. At Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light, we are proud…
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Xwe’chi’eXen, Cherry Point, Protected for Good

Lummi Nation applauded Commissioner Goldmark and the Department of Natural Resources for honoring the tribe’s request to protect the lands of Xwe’chi’eXen, Cherry Point, by adding 45 acres of aquatic lands to the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Lummi was determined to protect this area permanently…
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Further Resources

Faith & Coal Export Earth Ministry handout

A Public Declaration to the Tribal Councils and Traditional Spiritual Leaders of the Native Peoples of the Northwest At the request of Native American leaders and through the work of Earth Ministry, regional bishops and denominational executives gave this letter of support to the Native peoples of the Northwest whose sacred sites are at risk due to coal export.

Protecting Treaty Rights, Sacred Places, and Lifeways: Coal vs. Communities by Jewell James, Lummi Tribal Member and Head Carver, Lummi Tribe's House of Tears Carvers

Coal and Caring for Creation: A Catholic Perspective by The Washington State Catholic Conference

United Church of Christ Coal Export Resolution

Presbytery of Seattle Overture on Coal Exports to Asia

Testimony Against Coal Export by the Rev. Hunt Priest, Earth Ministry Board Member and Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Mercer Island

Coal Hard Truth Forum Comments by The Rev. Kathleen Patton, Rector, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Longview, WA on October 25, 2011 in Vancouver, WA