Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002550 

Received: 11/9/2013 5:25:00 AM
Commenter: Sigrid Asmus
Organization: 
State: 

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
Submission Text
From:Sigrid Asmus <essay@nwlink.com> Sent:Saturday, November 09, 2013 5:25 AM To:comments@millenniumbulkeiswa.gov Subject:Docket 2013-19738: Comment on Scope of EIS for Millennium Bulk Terminals Coal Terminal

Nov 9, 2013

Millennium Bulk Terminals Lead Agencies

Dear Millennium Bulk Terminals Lead Agencies,

I am writing to put myself on record, because I strongly oppose the construction of a coal export terminal at Longview, Washington, that would transport coal on trains and ships throughout the Northwest for sale and burning elsewhere.

If coal exports were to be permitted though Longview, the decision would be destructive in at least five major areas, in addition to immense and permanent pollution of the Columbia near Longview.

(1) The mining of the coal itself, in Wyoming and Montana, would cause extensive, ongoing environmental damage, including pollution of waterways depended on by Montana ranchers for more than a hundred years.

(2) A decision to allow coal shipment from Longview would set a benchmark, making it easier for coal corporations to exert financial pressure to bend regulations and allow shipment from other Pacific Northwest ports.

(3) The railroad shipment of any mined coal would be on rail lines established at low grades along waterways at the time rail transport began. Even the coal companies have provided statistics to show that each train of coal off-gases about 500 pounds of coal dust per trip -- dust that includes arsenic and lead, and that would permanently damage fisheries, farmland, and ranchland.

(4) The danger of accidents and spills during deepwater shipping of coal from Longview is real; such spills would be extremely damaging to what is left of our fragile Columbia River fishery, especially its salmon runs.

(5) The burning of the coal, whether in the US or elsewhere, would introduce massive amounts of carbon and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Because the atmosphere has no national boundaries, any burning of this coal would affect the health of everyone alive today. It would without question vastly accelerate the already profoundly destructive results of global climate change.

In brief, if this project were to be approved, rail-side communities would face delays in emergency responses and be peppered with airborne coal dust, farmers would be forced to plant in contaminated soil, fisheries would be damaged, and gigantic cargo vessels would ply the Columbia River daily.

Moreover, if this project is approved, other corporations pressing to ship coal from other Pacific Northwest ports would point to the decision and use it against your authority, making it more difficult for you to regulate their actions, and making it much easier for them to attempt to turn the Northwest into one of the world's largest exporters of climate-disrupting coal. It doesn't matter where that coal is burned, we all feel the impacts of its global warming pollution.

This proposal would hurt or harm communities by increasing congestion and noise with more coal train traffic, polluting air and local waterways, harming existing businesses, and delaying emergency responders. It would also damage aquatic ecosystems and fishing areas on the Columbia River, harm human health, increase tanker traffic and the potential for shipping accidents and spills, expand strip- mining in Wyoming and Montana, and escalate climate change.

There is no need to protect private coal corporations from rigorous regulation intended and needed to protect our citizens. Even if your decision would completely bar these corporations from exporting coal, I would be in favor of rejecting their applications. I ask the US Army Corps of Engineers to instead act forcefully to protect the people of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest from Montana and Wyoming to the Pacific

I urge you to consider these impacts in the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Sigrid Asmus

Seattle, WA 98199-1505