Now that we know fish upstream of Bonneville Dam are contaminated with mercury, reported in The Columbian’s Sept. 23 online story “Oregon, Washington issue Columbia River fish warning,” the true cost of coal-export jobs is becoming clearer.
When the coal is burned in Asia, prevailing winds will bring more mercury back to our region and further contaminate our fish. As mercury levels rise, our own fishing industry will lose jobs when no one wants to buy their product. The economy built around recreational fishing and residents who depend on these fish for food will also suffer.
We cannot stick our heads in the sand and say that transporting a toxic product is permissible because the transport process is “clean.” We have to consider the impact to our region from its use as well, even if it happens somewhere else. If we don’t, we are fools for letting us be manipulated by an industry that cares only about the loopholes they can find to profit from our ignorance.