Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0001456
Received: 10/8/2013 7:23:00 PM
Commenter: Chris Hickey
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
From:firstname.lastname@example.org Sent:Tuesday, October 08, 2013 7:23 PM To:email@example.com Subject:I'm a full time volunteer with Columbia Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club.
From: Don Steinke [firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Saturday, August 10, 2013 8:15 PM To: Chris Hickey Subject: Re: Coal Trains Hello Chris, The are two or three routes for coal to leave a coal train. 1. When the train is travelling fast in windy areas such as at Horse Thief Lake or DallesPort, the adjacent vineyard owner claims that the coal dust is already 4-8 inches deep. It doesn't look much different than the native basalt and the weeds grow through so it is hard to notice. The dust piles up maybe a millimeter every three weeks. Maybe this happened before they started using surfactants a year ago but There have been two recent reports of people in the Gorge needing to pull off the road as their car were being pelted by flying coal. Also the shippers are passing the cost of the surfactant on to the utilities e.g. Boardman and Centralia. Utilities are balking, claiming that the surfactant research done by BNSF was junk science. 2. A rail engineer told me recently that the doors on the bottom hatches of the coal cars are frequently broken and trickle coal along the way. When the next train comes by, it stirs up the dust. 3. Rain: I'm not sure whether or not water will trickle through the cars after a heavy rain. Probably some. The environmental coalition has filed an action against BNSF and the shippers claiming the coal dust is a violation of the Clean Water Act. That was filed on June 2. I have no updates on that. A chemist at UW has received grants over the years to study the pollution that comes here from China. The grants totaled $10 M. A year ago, he applied for a $70,000 grant for equipment to study the fugitive coal from the trains. Money was not available in a timely manner, so two months ago, he did a crowd-funding appeal and raised the money in 2 days. I met a kid at the Washougal Library three weeks ago who claims he found chunks of coal while playing in the water under the bridge. I was surprised so I asked, "Are you sure?" He said, "Yeah, me and my friends were wondering what is was and we rubbed it and got black stuff over our hands." He said it was about the size of a baseball. I'm guessing it was a chunk of coal that had rested on the coupling most of the way. This happens now and then according to that rail engineer. It was his job to pick the chunks off the tracks. I wonder where he throws it? I spoke at the Liz Pike-Ann Rivers Town Hall last January and someone who identified himself as Hickey claimed he lived near the tracks and the siding. He said "There is no coal dust, none" I though his name was Wes, but maybe it was Chris.. Here's a documentary produced by WTV in Olympia. It lasts one hour and shows the vineyard owner at Dallesport. http://capitolrecord.tvw.org/coal-crossroads/#.Ugb5Tovn_IU Last fall, the World Banks said it is urgent to drastically reduce our emission of greenhouse gases. Global warming is already costing us $500 B per year. Here's the best short video on Climate Change (15 minutes, recorded at the Evergreen State College last fall) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pznsPkJy2x8 I asked one of the Clark County Clean Water specialists (Jeff Schnaubel) the following. "The Clark County team enforces the Clean Water Act for developers. Who enforces the law regarding the coal dust from the trains?" He said, "Good Question." I'm disappointed with the SW Clean Air Agency. I don't think they have any monitors in the Gorge or near the tracks anywhere. They have one on the roof of Vancouver Christian High School, near Fourth Plain and 82 Ave.. I doubt there is much coal dust in your location but I don't think we'll ever know. I specifically urged DOE in writing to conduct long term studies of the coal dust in multiple locations, but that wasn't mentioned in the press reports of their scoping decision ten days ago. http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/jul/31/officials-set-2-year-study-for-wa-coal-trains/ I'm a full time volunteer with Columbia Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club. I'm a retired physics teacher. I've been a student of energy policy and energy production for 40 years. Best, Don Steinke This is an email I received when asking about air monitoring in the Gorge. Chris Hickey email@example.com