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


Victory in Longview: Coal Export Facility Defeated

Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark, announced that he is rejecting the aquatic lease permit for the Longview coal export terminal because the company refused to provide basic information about its finances after the bankruptcy of the previous owner, Arch Coal. For many…
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Rev. Kathleen Patton Speaks at Longview Rally

Check out this amazing speech given by Reverend Kathleen Patton at a rally in Longview, October 24, 2016, at the Army Corps of Engineers hearing to review their recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal coal export facility: https://kathleenpattonblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/still-creating/Read More »

Comment on Coal Export in Longview, WA

The values that ground us as people of faith call us to prevent the pollution of the Columbia River River with what could be the nation’s largest coal export terminal. Not only that, but this moral faith foundation compels us to to stand up for impacted…
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"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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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