Coal-Free Bellingham appeal will be heard in Seattle court

The Court of Appeals in Seattle will hear Coal-Free Bellingham’s request for a stay of the Whatcom County Superior Court ruling that the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights cannot appear on the November ballot, the group’s advocates have announced.

The exact date of the hearing had yet to be determined as of Friday, Aug. 17. Should the stay be granted by the appeals court, the measure could appear on the ballot this fall.

The Bellingham Community Bill of Rights, if passed by voters, would prohibit coal shipments within the city of Bellingham. It would also grant fundamental rights to clean air, clear water and local self-government, according to its backers.

Though Coal-Free Bellingham gathered enough signatures from local voters to have the measure placed on the ballot, the Superior Court’s ruling asserted a measure to ban rail shipments of coal through the city would force elected officials to overstep their legal authority.

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