Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002092
Received: 11/15/2013 2:32:01 PM
Commenter: Margaret Green
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
As I expand my reading about world-wide coal export terminals, I continue to read about the escape of dust from every terminal I study, with no exception.* At best this is an aesthetic issue impacting quality of life, but also impacts economics as the need to clean cars and homes escalates and home values decline. Additionally the potential negative impact on keeping existing and attracting new businesses to a community due to reduced quality of life should be addressed. Finally and the worst, are the documented effects on human health from dust** and its economic and physical costs to the community's citizens. The westerly winds in Longview will carry any errant dust over the closest residential neighborhoods across Historic Lake Sacajawea Park and into downtown Longview, unless appropriate mitigation is accomplished.
The only acceptable mitigation, if it is even possible, would be to require covered coal cars*** for transport from the mines to the terminal as well as covering the storage pile of coal as is sometimes done at power plants east of the United States****. These would only be effective if care and enclosed systems are also used for unloading of rail cars and loading the ships.
Please study the above potential impacts of dust and include mitigation requirements that are appropriate to the magnitude of the impacts.
Figure 1: Rail Car Covers Available
Company Location Phone Cover Description
Global One Transport (Coal Cap) Ft. Worth, TX 817-717-1000 Retractable full-length doors
CleaRRails, LLC Denver, CO 303-478-4540 Fully retractable solid cover in tracks
Strategic Rail Systems x Springfield, SD 260-894-4083 Two semi-flexible doors hinged on each side
Structural Composites Ligonier, IN 260-894-4083 Two-door wedge and funnel; one-door wedge and funnel
Ecofab Covers Vancouver, BC 800-222-3130 Semi-rigid arched cover, hinged one side
Rail Car Covers
For several years now, a half dozen companies have worked on different rail car cover designs to prevent coal dust from flying out the tops of rail cars. Figure 1 gives the names and addresses of six of them, as well as a very brief description of their design. A basic coal car cover has to meet several design requirements: (1) It must not slow down the process of loading; (2) It must not twist or turn in the wind, of which there is plenty in Wyoming; (3) It must not freeze up or malfunction whenever there is snow or ice or rain; (4) It must not deform or fly off at maximum train speeds; (5) It must open and close in all kinds of weather without delaying the dumping process; (6) It must provide a safe and secure retrofit to a rail car; and (7) It must not cost so much no one would ever buy it.