Seattle Mayor Covers Up Study Supporting Coal Export Terminals

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was shown this week to have attempted to conceal the results of a study he commissioned that examined the economic impact of expanding coal trains and exports from Washington’s ports. This move is especially damning in light of his December press conference touting the study. McGinn, a vocal critic of an expansion of coal train traffic in the Pacific Northwest, has been accused of burying the report because it did not support his position and his anti-energy agenda.

As reported by the Seattle Times on Monday,

Mayor Mike McGinn called a news conference beneath Seattle’s Great Wheel in December to announce he would request a study into the economic impact of sending more coal trains through Seattle.

But after the report was completed, the mayor waited for more than a month — and a public-records request — to quietly release the results on his blog Friday.

The article gives a strong clue as to McGinn’s motivations:

The report’s author, Community Attributes President and CEO Chris Mefford, said he submitted a rough draft to McGinn in April and a final version July 10.

McGinn’s blog post was published more than five weeks after that — and within nine minutes of giving the report to The Seattle Times in response to a public-disclosure request filed the previous week.

The mayor’s post included a link to a memo from the anti-coal Sightline Institute that criticized the report.

The mayor had asked Sightline to critique a draft of the report in June, Mefford said. [emphasis added]

I’ve reported previously about Sightline’s duplicitous claims about coal dust, traffic effects and other supposed horrors of fossil fuel trains rolling through the countryside. This is the nonpartisan outfit that is attempting to make the coal train issue the Spotted Owl of this decade. It is curious that Mayor McGinn would not seek a more unbiased organization to provide a ‘second opinion’ on the study that he himself commissioned.

This attempt to bury the story is reminiscent of the Climate Research Unit email controversy and Michael Mann’s manipulation of data to create his now-debunked climate change hockey stick graph. As we’ve seen over and over, if an agenda needs to be pushed, no method is beneath those who wish to bury the truth.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @ChargerJeff.