Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002638
Received: 11/18/2013 6:19:00 PM
Commenter: Jenny Eck
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
From:Jenny Eck <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent:Monday, November 18, 2013 6:19 PM To:email@example.com Subject:Docket No. 2013-19738 - Scoping Comments on Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview LLC
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District Regulatory Branch Southwest Washington Field Office 2108 Grand Boulevard Vancouver, Washington 98661
Washington Department of Ecology Southwest Regional Office P.O. Box 47600 Olympia, Washington 98504-7600
Planning Office Cowlitz County Planning and Development 207 4th Avenue North Kelso, Washington 98626
Re: Docket No. 2013-19738 - Scoping Comments on Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview LLC
November 18, 2013
Dear Co-Lead Agencies:
I am submitting the following scoping comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington Department of Ecology, and Cowlitz County in response to the August 16, 2013 Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement on the application from Ambre Energy and Arch Coal to build Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview, LLC (MBTL). These comments are submitted in an effort to aid the Co-Lead Agencies in identifying issues that should be addressed in the EIS. Please ensure that these comments are entered into the public record.
I serve as State Representative for House District 82 in Helena, MT. Helena is intersected by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe / Montana Rail Link rail line, and citizens already experience daily impacts from train traffic. MBTL is one of the largest proposed coal export terminals on the West Coast, and would export up to 48 million tons of coal annually. This coal would be transported from the Powder River Basin through our community, and result in a substantial increase in coal train traffic. This project therefore directly affects Helena and I respectfully request that you consider all impacts to this community as you undergo the remaining EIS process. Furthermore, because MBTL is part of a larger plan by coal and rail companies to export hundreds of tons of coal each year, I also ask that you examine the cumulative impacts of all of the proposed coal export terminals.
Helena's main thoroughfare, Montana Ave. runs north-south through Helena. It is bisected by the train tracks which run east- west. There is no overpass for traffic on Montana Ave., so when a train is coming through town, traffic on Montana Ave. is forced to wait. Any additional train traffic would certainly exacerbate delays and adversely affect transportation from one side of town to the other. More importantly, there could be serious health and safety implications with emergency service vehicles incurring delays while crossing the tracks.
I also ask that you evaluate the possible impacts on health that could result from an increase in coal train traffic in terms of the potential for increased diesel and gas fumes, increased noise, and increased dust.
Finally, I believe it is worth evaluating the economic impact that increased train traffic would have on our community. It would be worth exploring how many jobs would actually be gained locally with increased train traffic, and how many businesses may be hurt by the resulting inconveniences, health and safety concerns, and noise.
I respectfully request that the co-lead agencies consider these potential serious effects on Helena while evaluating the Millennium Bulk Terminals, as well as any other proposed projects that would result in increased coal train traffic. I also strongly urge the participation of the Surface Transportation Board in the scoping process, as the sole agency responsible for regulating the railroads. I ask that you provide the most information possible to the citizens of Helena so that we may better evaluate the long- term effects of increased train traffic through our town.
Please let me know if I can provide any further information or be of assistance in this process.
Rep. Jenny Eck
PO Box 1206 Helena, MT 59624