Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002330
Received: 11/18/2013 10:09:02 PM
Commenter: Claudia Narcisco
Agency: Cowlitz County, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview EIS
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To: Millennium Bulk Terminals EIS
c/o ICF International 710 Second Avenue, Suite 550 Seattle, WA 98104
Re: Scoping Comments on Proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals—Longview Shipping Facility Project – NEPA and SEPA
November 18, 2013
To Whom It May Concern:
I am submitting these comments via email and wish these to be considered under NEPA and SEPA. As a resident of Montana, I am very concerned the proposal to develop a coal export terminal in Longview Washington will have serious impacts on people and ecosystems special to Montana. I am also concerned about the cumulative and incremental effect on climate change that the coal-fired energy from coal mined at Powder River Basin coal will have on our environment at various scales.
The nature of the proposed coal export terminal at Longview connects actions along the route from coal mining in the Powder River Basin, to coal transport on railroads from the mine to the Longview terminal, to the terminal itself, to transoceanic transport to Asia and finally the burning of coal in poorly regulated coal-fired plants in Asia. The proposed action will have direct, indirect and cumulative effects on the communities and environment at all phases of this proposal. Cumulative and incremental effects from climate change can be even more widespread. I request that the NEPA and SEPA process employed in this analysis addresses these as connected actions and analyzes for direct, indirect, cumulative and incremental effects,
In spring of 2012 city councils of Helena, Bozeman, Billings and Missoula passed resolutions requesting the Army Corp of Engineers include each of these communities in a programmatic environmental impact statement for proposed coal ports in Washington and Oregon. The intent was the PEIS would consider the potential impacts resulting from up to 30 or more coal trains, 1.5 miles long lumbering through ours towns, cities and rural areas daily. Twice that number if they return via the same route. Several of these communities, including Livingston and Missoula reissued resolutions pertaining specifically to Longview terminal.
Citizens who came forward during city council meetings expressed concerns about potential effects on health, safety, quality of life and the economy. Please analyze the potential for the following impacts to occur and how they will be mitigated. Be specific about affects, the economic costs and who will assume the liability and cost to mitigate.
• Diesel trains laden with coal commonly stand running for hours at a time or even overnight spewing fumes. Coal dust, diesel exhaust, and noise levels most directly affect people who live near the train tracts or switchyards. They complained about the accumulation of coal dust or diesel fumes or both on their windowsills. There is concern about letting children play in the yards.
• Due to its mountain valley location, the city of Missoula is naturally prone to inversion so the effects of air quality are exacerbated. Saint Patrick’s hospital is located in the downtown area, only blocks from the railroad tracks. Please assess the cumulative effects of increased rail traffic and the coal dust on air quality in Missoula.
• I’ve experienced trains of up to 150 cars taking 15 minutes to pass, wondering if I should spin around and take another route, while traffic builds behind me. Each of these trains at ground levels crossings adds to the cumulative time day in and day taken from daily lives of citizens going to and from work or picking up children or running to the market. In the case of emergency response these delays may be life threatening. This is not just about crossings, but changes in traffic flow that could extend blocks in each direction around the crossings.
• Some neighborhoods are likely to see decline in property values. This decline might be most obvious in the lower income areas near the tracks, where environmental justice issues are most obvious, but can affect property values throughout the city