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


"Qal" (The Belief): 2016 Totem Pole Journey

Join the faith community in gathering with the Lummi Nation House of Tears Carvers to celebrate the victory against coal export at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) and to continue strengthening alliances defending tribal sacred lands and waters. With blessings all along the way, the Lummi are traveling…
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Ethics of energy in the federal coal review

Earth Ministry/WAIPL Executive Director, LeeAnne Beres, partnered up with Board Member Rev. John Rosenberg to share how faith communities saying no to coal export in the Northwest and turning their attention to federal coal leasing. You can provide your input at a public hearing in Seattle…
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Lummi Treaty Rights Upheld - Cherry Point Coal Export DENIED!

May 10, 2016  After years of effort, we celebrate victory for the sacred lands and waters of the Lummi Nation at Xwe’chi’eXen, also known as Cherry Point, Washington. The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the necessary permits for SSA Marine’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal,…
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Dept. of Ecology Report Confirms: Huge Impacts From Proposed Coal Export Terminal in Southwest Washington

The DEIS is out for the proposed coal export terminal in Longview, WA. The results show that, as the largest terminal in North America, coal export in Longview would create “hours and hours” of traffic delays while producing an enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions…
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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