Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002260
Received: 11/18/2013 4:34:28 PM
Commenter: Julia Page
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
Dear Agency Folks and County Commissioners,
I am writing to urge you to consider the myriad impacts of building the Millenium Bulk Terminal at Longview including impacts from the coal source in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, and all along the rail line to the proposed port in Longview, Washington.
I recently moved to Boise from Montana. I lived near Livingston, Montana, a medium sized town bisected by the railroad. Folks in town are worried about increased wait times for emergency responders, increased noise from train horns, increased dust and diesel emissions from trains coming through town, or even worse, waiting in the rail yard and staging to cross Bozeman Pass, which is about 15 miles west of town. Some of these issues or problems could be mitigated, but that will take money, most likely public tax money. The cost in terms of human health and welfare is one thing. Cost is another.
Impacts caused by the increase in train traffic through Livingston are obviously related to the building of the port. Towns across Montana, the Idaho panhandle and the Pacific Northwest will all be impacted. I urge you to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the impacts to all of these areas.
The domestic market for coal is fast disappearing. China and India are still using this dirtiest of fuels and that, in large part, is what is driving the push to build MBTL. To me it is cynical (and wrong) to switch to foreign markets when the US will no longer tolerate burning dirty coal.
Climate change is another related and cumulatively significant impact of coal export that must be studied in the EIS. I lived in Montana for 30 plus years before moving over here to Boise. My business was whitewater rafting so I paid careful attention to water levels in the rivers we ran. Any knowledge I gained by doing that was basically anecdotal, but the trend to earlier and lower peaks of spring runoff was apparent. River flows and the availability of water have huge and varied implications, not just to recreation, but also to agriculture, municipal water supply, wildfire, wildlife - actually life as we know it. Perpetuating the mining and burning of coal, by selling and shipping it overseas is all wrong, in my view, and certainly should be considered in an EIS that takes a comprehensive look at impacts of building the port.
Thanks for your time and consideration.