Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0000402
Received: 10/4/2013 6:04:00 PM
Commenter: Mitch Kneipp
Organization: City of Washougal
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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On March 19, 2012, the Washougal City Council unanimously approved a Resolution calling on the Washington State Department of Ecology, the US Army Corp of Engineers and local county jurisdictions to make the City of Washougal a “party of record” and commenter on the proposed coal export facilities in Bellingham and Longview.
This Resolution, which is attached, is specific to the impact the additional trainloads of coal, estimated to be 20-40 additional trains per day, each train up to 1.5 miles long each. These impacts include the delays that vehicle traffic will have at our five at-grade crossings (concerns of significant vehicle emissions from idling vehicles) as trains move through Washougal and especially delays to our emergency response vehicles should the at-grade crossings be blocked. In addition, the potential impact that loose coal dust will have on our community and environment, whether it blows out of the top of the uncovered rail cars or it seeps out the bottoms of the rail cars.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad has noted themselves that each railcar can lose between 500 – 2,000 pounds of coal product while in transit from the Powder River Basin to Bellingham, over a 1,000 mile trip. My office in city hall is literally 300 feet away from the rail lines and I watch these trains go by on a daily basis.
The City requests that the scoping of the EIS address the significant unavoidable adverse impacts to the City of Washougal, and other communities that these trains will travel through, including but not limited to impacts from; 1) vehicle emissions from idling vehicles at blocked at-grade crossings; 2) emergency response delays at blocked at-grade crossings; and 3) the impact of coal dust on the community and environment. The EIS should address ways to avoid, minimize and mitigate the effects of these impacts on our community.
The City of Washougal does not want to stand in the way of commerce or exports; in fact we applaud companies who are employing people. We just want to make sure that our community and residents will not have any adverse impacts from the transportation of these materials and that any impacts will be reasonably mitigated.
As the Mayor of a community that is literally split geographically by the BNSF rail lines, I will be reaching out to the Mayors of other communities along the BNSF line to be sure we are kept informed of the progress and mitigations of these projects.
I appreciate any space that you can give to this important issue and I welcome any questions that you may have.
City of Washougal