Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0001564 

Received: 11/5/2013 1:48:51 PM
Commenter: K. Rone
Organization: 
State: Washington

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
My request is to include in the Public Record these comments on the Scoping Document: NOISE: . The pubic crossing across the BNSF/UP/Amtrak corridor for the Felida Moorage (NW 123rd street) is 1700 feet from my house. My bedroom is 350 feet from the track. The UTC regulations require all trains to sound their horns approaching crossing. This regulation places the commencement of the horn signal adjacient to my property and that of my residential neighbors. The proposed project will cause a substantial increase in the number of trains sounding horn signals at this crossing. For trains that approach public crossings at grade with engine in front, the signal starts not less than 15 seconds but not more than 20 seconds before reaching the crossing. If movement is 45 mph or greater, signal starts at or about the crossing sign, but not more than 1/4 mile before the crossing if there is no sign. The horn signal is prolonged or repeated until the engine completely occupies the crossing(s). While there are many sources of noise from trains (high-pitch screeching, idling engines; moving cars, etc.), horn sounding is the most significant. Federal rules governing the blowing of locomotive engine horns require that engineers of all trains sound horns for at least 15-20 seconds at 96-110 decibels (dB) at all public crossings. Decibels in the range of 80-105 are labeled extremely loud, whereas those above 105 are dangerous. Decibels are logarithmic, meaning that 100 decibels is ten times as loud as 90, 110 decibels is ten times as loud as 100, and so on. While impacts to quality of life from repeated loud noise are self-evident, chronic noise exposure has proven adverse health effects, including impaired sleep and cognitive function, and cardiovascular effects. To mitigate these effects the Corps is requested to direct the proponent to fund and implement "silent crossings" at all at grade crossings within Clark County where the "unit trains", loaded or unloaded, involved in supplying to the proponent's terminal will operate. GLARE: Facilities such as wharf facilities, petroleum terminals, refineries, gravel pits, mines and grain silos are notorious for their careless use of area lighting. Engineers design for illumination levels of 3 foot candles within all areas that employees COULD be expected to operate. The result is all lights remain on during all non-daylight hours. This practice not only wastes energy, it impacts the environmental balance (both for nocturnal and non nocturnal species) and the enjoyment of views, view corridors, and the outdoor and indoor enjoyment peaceful viewing. Operators seem to feel that if a light is provided, they are not doing their job if that light is not illuminated. I have been told this is for safety of the public and the employees. That premise is as ridiculous as the technology is obsolete. Engineers can easily design personnel motion detectors or RFID detectors to activate the lighting along the path and in the area of human movement providing all employees the safe lighting mandated by OSHA, MSHA (and other regulators) as the person conducts their work surrounded by a full halo of area lighting. Technology also provides "instant on" lighting (florescent or LED for example) that is energy efficient, eliminating their argument that lights need time to ramp-up to full luminosity. The Corps is requested to direct the proponent to install such instant-on technology using LED fixtures as a condition of the permit approval. PROPERTY VALUE: A new study examining Los Angeles neighborhoods supports the notion that home values decrease as nearby rail traffic increases at a rate can be calculated. Whereas property value is injured by the actions of the proponent, the Corps is requested to direct the proponent to compensate me for this illegal taking as guided by the study cited. See http://econ.ucsd.edu/~mfutch/pdfs/FutchJMP2011.