Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002229
Received: 11/18/2013 11:24:05 AM
Commenter: Peter Bennett
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
I own a condominium in downtown Tacoma and during the workweek I live and work in Longview where I am employed by Millennium Bulk Terminals.
It is important that the environmental impact statement is developed through a process that is timely, certain and consistent.
In the 1990s and early 2000s when the Port of Tacoma were increasing their double stack rail operations it was recognized that additional trains could have a negative impact both within the port area and also on the rail system locally, regionally and nationally. While those impacts were initially problematical, over time the increase in rail traffic enabled both the port and the railroads to invest in additional infrastructure to provide competitive costs and superior service to both existing and potential customers.
The increased rail traffic to service Millennium will spur investment in rail upgrades that will benefit all rail users and improved rail service will support increased and additional rail volumes throughout the network. This fact is recognized by the many agricultural interests that are supporting the Millennium project.
Concern has been raised about the possible negative impact of coal trains on residential neighborhoods so it is appropriate that one of the meetings was held in Tacoma where a downtown residential renaissance has occurred in close proximity to existing rail tracks. My condominium sits directly adjacent to the mainline with coal trains regularly passing by. Trains and train noise did not deter us from moving downtown nor has it deterred the thousands of others who now call urban Tacoma their home.
In an EIS review of the rail impacts of the Millennium project the same criteria should apply irrespective of whether the train cargo is passengers, containers, grain or coal. Please consider that thousands of construction jobs and over one hundred permanent jobs are currently held hostage until an EIS is written and permitting decisions are made.