Critics question timing of Seattle Mayor’s coal study

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 7:00 PM

Tuesday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn defended the timing of a city commissioned study on the impacts of increased coal train traffic.  Critics cited a Seattle Times report, which suggested the Mayor withheld the report until it made a public records request for the document.

Mayor McGinn called for the study in December.
 
“We received the draft report in July,” Mayor McGinn said, “We vetted it, and shortly after getting the final product, we published it.”

McGinn, an outspoken opponent of more coal train traffic, is in a reelection fight with State Sen. Ed Murray (D – Seattle), who like the Mayor, is against coal trains.

“It’s an issue that progressives and labor and environmentalists have some disagreements on,” Murray said, “I don’t think this is the time to sit on the report.”

As for what the report said, that too is up for debate.  McGinn and other anti-coal group cited findings of increased traffic, hundreds of millions of dollars in property value loss and other negative impacts.  But supporters said it was positive.

“We feel encouraged,” said Lauri Hennessey from the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, “It finds that anytime there’s a big project, there’s job growth.”

Hennessey also suggested McGinn “didn’t bend over backwards” to release the study because “he didn’t like it”.  McGinn denies that claim.
 

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