Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0001059 

Received: 10/9/2013 7:53:00 PM
Commenter: Gregory Smith
Organization: 
State: Oregon

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
Submission Text
From:Greg Smith <gasmith@lclark.edu> Sent:Wednesday, October 09, 2013 7:53 PM To:comments@millenniumbulkeiswa.gov Subject:Comment
October 9, 2013
Dear Sir or Madam: I am writing to express my opposition to the permitting of the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview, Washington. Turning the Columbia River and its shoreline into a staging operation for the shipment of vast quantities of coal to Asian markets is a recipe for regional environmental degradation and social/economic disruption. I will touch upon six concerns. (1) Even with surfactants BNSF Railway representatives acknowledge that each coal car will lose approximately 100 pounds of coal dust during a 400 mile journey. There are on average 125 cars per coal train, meaning that total coal dust dispersion will equal 12,500 pounds per coal train. It is projected that if this facility and the facility in Bellingham are built, the Northwest can expect to see 30 miles of coal trains daily. It is difficult to believe that the amount of dust released from this volume of activity will not adversely affect public health and the quality of water in proximity to rail lines. (2) Increased rail transportation will release diesel exhaust and particulates into the air. We know that doing so will negatively impact the pulmonary and cardiovascular health of people exposed to this pollution. (3) Increased rail traffic will negatively affect local automobile traffic in affected communities, impacting local commerce and delaying response time for people experiencing medical emergencies. (4) The shipment of coal by ocean-going vessels from Longview will necessarily increase the volume of marine traffic on the Columbia River, adversely affecting recreational use of the river as well as fisheries. (5) Train derailments must be anticipated with unknown environmental and human impacts. Between January 2012 and August 2013, forty-one train derailments in the United States and Canada have been documented. A derailment along the Columbia River could have long-term negative impacts on river health; a derailment in one of the communities along the rail line could be equally devastating. (6) It is likely that property in proximity to the coal train corridor will experience a decrease in value, impacting the economic well being of citizens and businesses in our region. All of these consequences of the permitting and construction of the Millennium Bulk Terminals are local and do not touch upon the broader global consequences of the burning of more fossil fuels. Although this concern lies outside the scope of the permitting process, rather than feeding the Chinese addiction to coal as a primary source of energy, we need to be encouraging them to make good on their plans to make a transition to less environmentally disruptive fuels. We need to be doing the same. I hope that you will take these grave concerns into account as you make your decision about whether to approve or disapprove this project. Much rests on what you decide. Sincerely yours, Gregory Smith, Professor Lewis & Clark College Portland, Oregon