Watch the Full Documentary

Making of COAL, a KCTS 9 and Earthfix Documentary

Filmmakers Katie Campbell and Michael Werner take us behind the scenes of COAL. The documentary airs on KCTS 9 Television on June 19. View additional air dates.

Learn more about coal in the Northwest from our EarthFix environmental news team.

Coal in the Northwest - KCTS|Earthfix

Offering diverse perspectives on proposed Northwest coal exports.

Hear their stories

NW Coal Export Terminals Map

Follow the path that coal trains would take. Listen to stories from communities along the rail lines.

Coal Scorecard

Your guide to coal in the Northwest

Read More



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

There was talk about giving folks the facts and letting them make up their minds ... but almost NO real facts were given at all.

A few statistics about numbers of trains and square miles of mining ... but most all of the focus was on people and their views and their personal impacts from a possible coal terminal.

This was a very shallow treatment of the issue.

Nothing about national defense, almost nothing about the economics of the exports and how the funds arriving would filter in our economy ... for all we know from this piece ... the coal firms could be owned by the chinese or germans or martians ... who would be exporting the funds to their country or planet instead of stimulating the us economy.

No real treatment of the gas or particulate matter constituents or contamination from the trains or loading port were discussed ... or the consequences ...

No real treatment of the degree of contamination of the puget sound or inland waters from the additional volume of ship traffic to service this proposed coal port.

No treatment of the additional risks of coal moving on the coastal routes that have periodic landslides or mudslides and washouts.

etc. etc. etc.

very very shallow ... as if they just wanted an excuse to "look green" and "get some field time having fun".

Extremely unimpressed.

The only rational comment was the kid saying "it is not fair" etc.

Debate DOES need real data, not just a bunch of people saying how good or bad this is based on how they will be personally effected by it.

We need a higher standard of investigative reporting from PBS and Channel 9 ... something we can use to foster real policy analysis and strategic planning debate ...

This was just another trivial fluff piece on what should be a serious debate based on sound facts and analysis.


Actually I Would like the answer that I have been asking our government and scientists that I have contacted. All I hear is About the ozone layer so What Is the by products and ammonia from the rockets that is blasting thru the ozone layer for the last 50 yrs. or how ever long doing to the ozone layer doing to cause global warming.All people wants to do is blame coal.Its not coal blasting a hole thru it.


Coal has been a major source of energy ever since it had been created. This site clearly shows how coal has brought about the difference in the present day world. Anyways thanks a lot sharing this information which most of them didn’t know.
outlook email helps


Its amazing when you only tell parts of a story how powerful it is to the general public and most actually believe it. You could have told all the facts instead of the perts you feel make coal look bad. There were so many things you took parts of what you wanted to hear. LJ Turner is not even close to the opinion of others in the area, other than his nornal spiel which most have learned to ignor as there is no fact to back his claims.
THis was just another feeble attampt at bashing coal, just another way to do it.


I enjoyed the documentary but I noticed that there is a shot of a nuclear power plant as the narrator discusses the burning of coal; this seems errant. And it would be helpful to mention the units of the temperature change over the last century. (Degrees only lets me know we're not talking Kelvin.)
Thanks for the informative look on coal and the northwest!


just watched "Coal," on kcts. living here in british columbia, i just wanted to weigh in. no one i know is interested in having an expanded coal port in the lower mainland. the show made it sound as if canadians are just chomping at the bit to get an expanded coal port. that is not the case at all. pretty good doc outside of that. sounds as if not many people on either side of the border want to feed china more dirty fuel.


Had neighbors over to watch the documentary and all were very disappointed in the lack of content and reality of how this much coal will effect the environment not to mention communities. You should also have followed the money a little, if not a lot deeper, which is the real story!


I understand a need to show a fair and balanced story. But this show was very clearly one sided towards the coal industry. It would have been better to show how the coal mining companies have not restored the Wyoming and Montana land they are being required to. Tell the story of the environmental organizations who are bring suit against the BNSF Railroad for coal dust getting into the water ways along along the current train routes. There should have been one show for pro side and one show for the con side.



I have lived in and among the coal mines of Campbell Co Wy for over 50 years. You are mistaken about the reclamation of the mines. I have seen first hand what a great job the mines do to reclaim the land. It is usually better or at the same level after it has been mined than before. I know for a fact that they even go as far as to take counts of mice and other small animals to make sure that they are re introduced at the same level as prior to mining. I own a business that is located less than 1 block from the train tracks that carry coal every day. I do not ever see coal dust on my vehicles or buildings either. Who ever is spreading these falsehoods about the threat of coal dust etc. Have no knowledge of the truth.

No I am not employed by a mine. So I have no reason to lie. I just want the truth to get out that this is the cleanest burning source of coal in the World.


I'd really like to see the coal companies FIRST clean up massive areas of coal mining pits that were supposed to be returned to useful purposes; perhaps restore the aquifers as well?? First things first - then, after showing true character and commitment, come to the increased export discussion table.... How can they ruin the land and disrupt water sources - make it "GONE" - not restore anything, and still tell us how much good they'll do for the economy and global warming?? It seems like the usual manipulative corporate "double speak" in any situation where big profit is the main goal.... We all know what coal dust has historically done to human lungs - I wonder what difference the lungs experience between "dirty coal" and "clean coal" dust over time and exposure??
Many sides to this question - sometimes opposing research and fact-finding are minimized to help promote a particular position. May the correct, most pertinent, and most important facts prevail to positively impact future generations and our fragile environment!!


The film puts up a lot of great arguments, but I really wonder where they got their information! Not once did anyone talk about what Asia is currently burning, nor that the PRB coal is cleaner by a significant degree! They will burn the coal they can get. We could sell them better, cleaner coal, and pocket the profits, or we can stop the flow and let the pollution from the dirty coal continue to come here. Selling our coal is a win/win situation. Blocking the export costs us the income and encourages greater pollution coming across the Pacific. Most of the issues are minor compared to what will happen if they continue to burn the coal they are currently burning.

White man killed off the Indian way of life. The farmers, ranchers, and other businessmen are just as much to blame as anything else!

If the lady doesn't know what the dust is, she should maybe have it anylised! Montana has a lot of dust too!

The dams destroyed a lot of land too! Some fish species have disappeared because of them!

The mayor of Seattle reported a 2 per cent loss in weight as the train comes across country. How much of that is water loss? PRB coal is up to 28% water as it comes out of the ground!

And what does the Apollo Lunar Mission have to do with any of this?



RRH - Thanks for taking the time to watch our documentary and share your feedback. We always appreciate hearing from our viewers. I'd like to respond to some of your comments/questions.

With a 30-min documentary we can't include everything we would like to include. There's always more to the story. I'm a part of a team of public media journalists that has been covering this topic for the last year and a half. You can see all of our reporting on coal exports on this website:

As for where our information comes from. I've posted the entire script for the documentary here ( And within that script, we've linked to sources.

We chose specifically to focus on a number of people who will be personally impacted one way or another by the decisions that are made around exporting coal. Hearing their perspectives, their fears, their hopes helps us understand how people across the region are thinking about this issue. I'm grateful to them for sharing their perspectives with us.

Re: your comment on dams. You may be interested to see the documentary we produced last year about the dams on the Elwha River. You can view it here:


Coal is being shipped through Washington to Roberts Bank in BC daily. If coal dust was such a concern, why isn't there coal dust covering the railroad tracks?

Also, do the protesters really think that China will stop burning coal if the US stops selling it to them?


Re Coal,

Since there is so much opposition in WA state the coal is likely being diverted to vancoucer canada for now, some opostition but it looks like it going to happen.
not liking it



Frits, like they said in the documentary, it's what you can't see that is dangerous to your health. So just because you can't see the coal dust or its impact doesn't mean it's not a treat to human health. Let's leave the science to the actual scientists, who know what they are talking about.

Post new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
  • All comments are subject to approval.
  • reserves the right to remove posts, at our discretion, which include inflammatory comments, comments that are off-topic, personal attacks or obscene language, or that are otherwise deemed objectionable.
  • By submitting your comment for publication on, you agree to abide by our terms of service: