Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0001955
Received: 11/11/2013 4:48:29 PM
Commenter: Don Kiehn
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
Looking at the big picture, there are several levels of deep concern. First, global warming is at the point of no return - we can no longer procrastinate by thinking in terms of "phasing out" or "phasing in" this or that action or energy source. We must take concerted and strong action now. Coal is clearly the dirtiest energy source and China will burn it the dirtiest way possible. A multinational group of scientists, including Chinese, recently reported that pollution due to the heavy use of coal in northern China is cutting 6 years off the human lifespan in comparison to that in southern China where less coal is burned. We must ignore the highly exaggerated profit/jobs reasoning and do the right thing here, the moral thing, and "just say NO" to coal, yes - just leave it in the ground.
Second, the traffic congestion we already experience here in Helena, MT, due to coal trains that bisect and disable our city is more than enough. Since we now know that the coal industry lobby has craftily and severely underestimated future coal production and transport figures, it is easy to predict that the traffic stoppages here in Helena will be far higher than the already unacceptable lowball estimates of 2-5X increases when production ramps up.
Third, coal dust is highly toxic and needs to be intensively studied with clear baselines established before there are any commitments to new mining and transport. High standards need to be set for coal pollution of water, aquifers, air, public health, ranchlands, agriculture, Native American cultural and treaty rights, and wildlife habitat. Last winter I discovered in the snow on the Bill Roberts golf course in Helena clear and obvious contamination by coal dust, hundreds of yards north of the tracks!
Finally, there are currently six coal export proposals that would transport as much as 150 million tons through the Northwest. I have strongly opposed the construction of a coal export terminal at Cherry Point, Washington, as well as Longview and other potential terminals in Washington and Oregon, as well as the transport of strip-mined coal from Montana and Wyoming on trains and ships throughout the Northwest. These proposals would negatively affect communities, including my own, by increasing congestion and noise with more coal train traffic, polluting our air and local waterways, harming existing businesses, delaying emergency responders, damaging aquatic ecosystems and fishing grounds at the terminal sites, increasing tanker traffic and the potential for serious shipping accidents and finally, escalating global warming.
Thank you for your consideration.