Avista Utilities has a reputation for supporting renewable energy in Eastern Washington—so why do they still power our homes and businesses with dirty out-of-state coal from Montana’s Colstrip Generating Facility?
Avista’s Reliance on Coal Power
The largest source of U.S. carbon pollution is burning fossil fuels for electricity. And Colstrip stands near the top of its industry according to the US. Environmental Protection Agency. Eastern Washington already faces the impacts of climate change including longer wildfire seasons, reduced snowpack and extended droughts. Meanwhile, Colstrip pumps more than 15 million tons of carbon pollution into the air every year from burning sub-bituminous coal from a nearby mine. That’s equal to the carbon pollution from half of all passenger cars in Washington State. Overall in Washington, coal provides about 20 percent of the state’s power but contributes more than 80 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.
Mt. Spokane, one of our community’s most valuable natural areas has been under constant pressure by development and logging. Today, the mountain won a reprieve. The Spokane County Department of Building and Planning decided to withdraw its permit that authorized logging on the western part of Mount Spokane State Park. This decision will help prevent the further fragmentation of the remaining old-growth forest on Mt. Spokane . It will also preserve important Biodiversity Areas and Corridors, Riparian zones, and Moose, Elk, and other wildlife habitats. Below is the press release issued today by The Lands Council and here is a link to their website.
If the coal industry has their way, coal trains will be traveling through Spokane, Wa, 12 hours a day on their way to Bellingham, Wa.. An export facility is being planned in Bellingham to load the coal from the trains onto ships that would head to China. Local residents are concerned about the effects on traffic, quality of life, and the health of Spokane residents from the impact of coal dust. Members of Occupy Spokane took to the streets last Friday night cardboard depictions of coal trains in protest to these plans.
Spokane is the major city in Eastern Washington. For a century, it has been a cultural, economic, and political hub of the Inland Northwest. It was once a railroad town. However, the trains are now few. Our economy has become more centered on light industry and the information economy.
We held the World's Fair in the 70s, and we still host Hoopfest, Pigout in the Park, and the Lilac Festival. If you like small town's that feel big. You will like Spokane.