Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0000351
Received: 9/27/2013 10:42:31 PM
Commenter: Cate Campbell
Agency: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview EIS
Attachments: No Attachments
After attending the public scoping hearing in Spokane, I realized one issue that was not addressed: coal dust from empty coal hoppers. I worked for Burlington Northern RR for 16 years and know that when a formerly loaded open topped hopper is empty, dust from the former load (often ballast or riprap) is freed as the empty car is moved. Many people voiced concern about coal dust from the loaded cars enroute. This impact could potentially be mitigated at the initiation point by a sprayed application of calcium chloride to the top of the coal. But there has been no consideration of what happens to the coal dust which adheres to the sides and bottom of each hopper. This dust has had a chance to accumulate during the long haul from the Powder River Basin to the west coast. There may even be a certain amount of static electricity which occurs, not only from the movement in hauling, but also from the shifting and emptying of the load at the terminal. My concern is that on it's way back to the coal mine, the empty hoppers will be "self-cleaning" via the wind, depositing trace amounts of dust along the entire route. One hopper may not leave much dust but this project will entail many thousands of them (each train will have about 125 cars). Some form of mitigation for dust should be considered, not only at the terminal site but also for the entire transportation route which will go through hundreds of towns and cities in four states.