Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0000036
Received: 9/18/2013 3:34:57 PM
Commenter: Sandra Romero
Organization: Thurston County Commissioner
Agency: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview EIS
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Commissioner Sandra Romero
Chair, Thurston County Board of Commissioners
Building 1, Room 269
2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW
Olympia, WA 98502
September 18, 2013
Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview EIS
c/o ICF International
710 Second Avenue, Suite 550
Seattle, WA 98104
ATTN: Cowlitz County and the WA State Department of Ecology & US Army Corps of Engineers
RE: Scoping Comments on the Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, WA
To whom it may concern:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide public comment on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, WA, a facility to be used primarily for coal export.
My greatest priority as a Commissioner is ensuring the health and safety of my community. Impacts of this project to public safety, public health, the environment, and economy are numerous; my constituents are becoming increasingly concerned by this proposal. I am respectfully requesting that the US Army Corps of Engineers and Washington Department of Ecology fully disclose and carefully assess the impacts of the Millennium Bulk Terminal in my community.
Environmental and Health Impacts
In Bucoda, a small town here in Thurston County, the rail lines pass within 200 feet of the main street and many residential homes. This community -- along with others, including Tenino, East Olympia, and Nisqually -- could see up to 20 coal trains rolling through town every day. Since the coal is transported via open top rail cars without covers, Thurston County is at risk for contamination of its farmlands, forests, lakes, streams and rivers. Coal is a toxic material that contains heavy metals, mercury, arsenic, and lead. Exposure to these toxins in high concentrations is linked to cancer and birth defects.
The EIS should specifically analyze the potential health risks to our population, especially the very young, elderly, and pregnant, and degradation of our beautiful surroundings. Additionally, I request that all railroad crossings in Thurston County be studied for safety and the impact on safety the increased train traffic would have.
My fellow Commissioners and I have worked hard to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. We’ve amended our transportation policies, completed a baseline emissions inventory and forecast, and developed a Climate Action Plan. As you are aware, burning coal leads to increased emissions of greenhouse gases and climate change. The related health impacts of climate change are great:
• Thermal stress from heat waves
• Degradation of air quality
• Infectious and chronic diseases
• Extreme weather events affecting public safety
• Psychological stress, social disruption, and economic disparities
It is my hope that the EIS will assess the negative impacts to quality of life, public health, and the environment associated with climate change.
Washington is a national leader in creating clean-energy jobs and innovating, developing, demonstrating, and marketing clean energy technologies and practices that promote sustainable global economic development. Coal export promotes the most destructive and unsustainable energy development practices.
A thorough economic analysis should be conducted as part of the environmental review process. Such an analysis could approximate a net gain or loss to the economy.
These are but a few of my concerns with this project. I’ve attached the Resolution Opposing Coal Export my fellow Commissioners and I passed on August 7, 2012 for further documentation.
Threats from this project to my community and way of life are extraordinary. I join other communities affected by this proposal and urge the lead agencies to prepare an exhaustive, area-wide EIS which accounts for the broad range of direct, indirect, and reasonably foreseeable impacts from coal export on our community.
Thurston County Board of Commissioners