Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0001586
Received: 11/8/2013 4:17:25 PM
Commenter: Marna Herrington
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 what I have been able to learn about coal exports, moving forward with any action toward the final outcome of actively exporting coal will have regrettable and even tragic consequences.
The known environmental and health hazards caused by coal exports are vast. I’ll focus on just one here: Even something as common and uncontrollable as a windy day could blow toxic coal dust up to five miles (as has been observed at the Point Roberts terminal) and it will be inhaled. Coal dust, it is now known, contains carcinogens and well as a host of other harmful toxins. The inevitable pollution, harm and destruction from drifting coal dust to healthy water, soil, wildlife and plant life must also be honestly acknowledged. Any attempt to “control and manage” the coal dust will be a failure to a greater or lesser degree, as there is no possible way to completely harness massive amounts of toxic, pervasive dust and render it harmless.
I also have concerns regarding the fairness, transparency and legitimacy of this permitting process. I have read that some of the people involved directly or indirectly in the permitting process have interests in the corporations that will profit from the terminal. This seems like a clear conflict of interest.
Also, the current process does not give local communities any say, other than "commenting", on whether they accept very serious local impacts. This gives multi-national corporations, which reflect substantial foreign ownership, more say in these communities than the residents themselves.
Finally, our current energy system is creating a risk of depletion, shortage and collapse. Its main sources (coal, oil, natural gas) are finite. The urgent policy need is to adopt a level of energy usage, and source of energy, that will not destroy the planet and which will be reliably available over time. Permitting more coal exports will do nothing to help us in the long run. In the short run, it can diminish our health, imperil ecosystems, and irrevocable harm wildlife and water.
I see no upside to moving forward with any permits that aim to ultimately export coal.