Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0000665
Received: 10/10/2013 7:10:11 PM
Commenter: Lynne Oulman
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
Train noise is shocking, debilitating and unrelenting. The EIS must address train caused noise near the tracks throughout the neighborhoods and cities it transects. Multiply all this by all the towns and neighborhoods back to Powder River. The EIS must address how BNSF can mitigate all train noise problems.
After spending many years in the classroom, around machinery, problem solving, I have learned the necessity and importance of being able to control one’s sound environment. It has an enormous, important relationship with mental health and overall well-being for all living creatures. (There is research on the effect of noise on milk production in cows.) It seems too that there is a special relationship with getting older and the stress of noise. I personally suffer a great deal from blowing whistles and screeching brakes and wheels. I ask that you measure and quantify the noise increase that will certainly happen if you add numerous trains a day through our neighborhoods and towns.
Train noise is a foreseeable, adverse, and significant impact facing everybody along the entire train route. As things stand now, in summer you have to accept wrenching noise in trade off for fresh air. The train runs through our bedroom every night, and the noise is guaranteed. It interrupts sleep, causing chronic sleep deficit.
Train whistles blow inconsistently but regularly with each train that passes. If fossil fuel hauling gets permitted, my family shall probably leave because our neighborhood will continuously reverberate with screeching brakes and tooting horns. After awhile you cannot think, or enjoy a normal conversation, and you find the outdoor existence you so much treasured will no longer be pleasant or restoring. Noise is a killer and it will affect many in the community. Research torture methods, and constant noise will be found in the list.
Screeching brakes are a very special kind of torture. They hit randomly. At times the unexpected screech pitch is piercing. I know from my husband that he has several days of tinnitus after an unexpected encounter with train screech. He carries earplugs with him, but usually the noise hits before he can make successful use of earplugs. With repeated occurrences, one’s hearing is decimated, one screech at a time. You know why many train engineers have suffered hearing impairment… not hard to figure out.
Now imagine one train an hour going through your neighborhood, town, farm, and community. Many of us will leave. Who wants to live like this? Many who cannot leave will suffer disorders from sleep problems and constant interruption. You must measure noise, and quantify the costs: mental disorder, impaired hearing, people moving out, overall damage caused by noise. Add to these will be the doctor visits and general stress. Businesses will fail, and some companies will move away. (Visit the Lighthouse Mission area in downtown Bellingham and experience the noise up close.)
Please, to save health and sanity– research the impact of train noise all along the proposed coal route.