Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002197
Received: 11/17/2013 8:59:22 PM
Commenter: Sandy Robson
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
Longview City Council member, Mike Wallin stated in his May 24, 2013 Seattle Times Opinion piece that Longview was named one of the 10 prettiest cities last year by Forbes magazine. Well, if you build and run a coal terminal at Longview which proposes to store and export 44M million tons of coal yearly you can bet that you won't see Longview in the top 10 prettiest cities ever again. It may find itself on an entirely different list which no one will want to brag about. These companies wanting to build and run the coal terminals, including the companies that would transport the coal, will tell you just about anything to garner the public's support. So far, they have already told many untruths and this is just the beginning. Coal terminals do not generate many jobs compared to other industries and once a coal terminal is in your town, those other industries that might have considered operating in your town will no longer want to do so. What about the jobs in fishing, tourism, etc, that will be lost when a 44M ton yearly coal terminal is in operation?
Supporters of Millennium Bulk Terminal at Longview, and the actual permit applicant claim that there will be tax revenues generated by the coal terminal, but it is very important to balance the possible tax revenue that might be generated to the costs that will be incurred by taxpayers for the rail crossings and overpasses that will be needed due to the huge increase in very long coal trains coming through communities into Longview. Any tax revenue that may be generated will surely be small in comparison to the rail infrastructure and upgrades that will be needed to handle all the coal trains carrying the coal to the terminals and it is a fact that BNSF only has to pay (by law) 5% of those costs. BNSF has acknowledged that they do not have to pay for the costs of overpasses/crossings. I recently read a Facebook post on the "Citizen Support for the Tongue River Railroad" Facebook page which by the way is a not a citizen-based group but actually is an online presence created to market/promote the proposed coal terminals and rail spurs at terminals needed to serve those terminals in the Pac NW. I looked up the registrant listed for "Citizen Support for the Tongue River Railroad" and it is BNSF. I posted a comment on "Citizen for the Support of the Tongue River Railroad" Facebook page today (November 17, 2013) after they had shared a post about the November 16, 2013 protest (originally posted by the Northern Plains Resource Council Facebook page) next to a BNSF rail crossing in Billings, MT. In the shared post Citizen Support for the Tongue River Railroad/BNSF made a snippy comment which said, "I wonder if the small crowd is willing to start writing checks to the state [MT] to keep the coal in the ground." I posted the comment copied and pasted below, in response to that, and I have also copied and pasted an excerpt of the response to my comment from Citizen Support/BNSF:
--Sj Robson- "Citizens will be having to "write checks" in the form of the taxes we pay that will be used to pay for necessary rail overpasses and other rail upgrades to handle the huge increase in coal train traffic, because BNSF only has to pay 5% of those costs and the rest will be paid by us taxpayers. So in essence, as a taxpayer, I would already be paying so that the companies like BNSF and SSA Marine who are the permit applicants for the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point that would handle and export 48 million tons of coal yearly if it were permitted and built, could make billions of dollars."
--Citizen Support for The Tongue River Railroad- "Well SJ may be right on crossings on the costs of creating a crossing. But the facts still are the railroad has the right away because the railraod was there years before any road had to cross the tracks and the DOT must pay to create it."
Why should we pay the brunt of rail overpass costs? Please study and consider these issues.
Birch Bay, WA