Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0000352
Received: 9/28/2013 5:32:42 PM
Commenter: Linda Greene
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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I ask that your EIS cover the entire system of railroad traffic, not just the Millennium Bulk Terminals at Longview. If all 3 ports are approved, it is obvious that there will be tremendously more railroad traffic than if only one is approved. However, even if only one is approved, the highly increased railroad traffic and mining will affect all the people along the route from Montana and Wyoming through Idaho and Spokane and on to the west coast.
There should be a comprehensive study of the effect on air quality all along the route. As reported by the Oregonian this summer BNSF “Railroad testing found an average of 225 pounds coal dust lost per car during a 567 mile trip.” That is about 15 tons for a 135 car train- and that is only 1 train! It has been said that Spokane could see as many as 50 trains per day if all terminals (including Cherry Point and Oregon) are allowed to be built. Air pollution also arises from the diesels themselves, which will be greater in number than for other freight trains because the heavier cargo will require more engines. Another consideration is the exhaust from idling cars waiting for coal trains to pass. I live not far from Pines and Trent in the Spokane Valley, an intersection I use frequently. The lineup of cars waiting for the long trains to pass is impressive and would be formidable if these ports are put into operation.
The probability of water pollution to our more pristine lakes and rivers is high due to the amount of coal dust and diesel particles. The cleanliness of our water would also be threatened by the increased probability of train derailments near our waterways as well as the increased likelihood of diesel leaks over the Rathdrum prairie aquifer while trains are refueling. The refueling station at Rathdrum has already had leaks of fuel. That aquifer provides clean (so far) drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people.
Finally, I would like to address the overall concept of shipping coal to be used in China. The burning of coal is the dirtiest form of power available. The air pollution that it creates results in tiny particulate matter that damages our health and our environment. It also adds to greenhouse gases which increase global warming. In addition, the heavy metals emitted from coal burning are toxic and are known to cause damage to the neurological system and vital organs. Increasing the use of coal in China or any other part of the world is immoral. However, just looking at it from a self-interest viewpoint, much of this airborne pollution drifts right back to our own country. This is a matter of global importance, and we should not sacrifice the health of our people and the health of our planet for the benefit of a few people who stand to make a profit from that sacrifice. We should not facilitate the use of coal.
Thank you for the opportunity to have input on this important question.
15313 E. Jacobs Rd.
Spokane, WA. 99217