Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002690 

Received: 11/18/2013 10:55:00 PM
Commenter: Nancy Helget
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:Nancy Helget <felget@comcast.net> Sent:Monday, November 18, 2013 10:56 PM To:comments@millenniumbulkeiswa.gov Subject:Docket number 2013-19738: Comment on scope of EIS for Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview LLC Coal Export Terminal

Nov 18, 2013

US Army Corps of Engineers, Cowlitz County, Washington Department of Ecology WA

Dear Washington Department of Ecology,

Please accept these scoping comments for the environmental impact statement for the Millennium Bulk Terminal (MBTL) proposal for Longview, WA.

Dear Folks,

We are submitting these scoping comments related to the environmental impact statement for the proposal to export coal from the Powder River Basin, through the Columbia River Gorge to Longview for export to Asia. We urge you to consider the environmental and transportation impacts on the Gorge and all of the communities the trains will travel through when you consider the proposal. We also urge you to consider the cumulative impact of all the proposed terminals.

We live in Vancouver, Washington, uphill from the train tracks over which the coal trains will travel. We are concerned about the proposal to transport coal through our community.

We are concerned on a personal level because of the potential for coal dust to degrade the air quality in our town and around our home. We have asthma. Coal dust is toxic. We don't think there is sufficient evidence that any spray surfactant will prevent toxic coal dust from entering the air as the trains travel from the extraction site to the proposed export terminals. We don't think private companies' desire to make a profit justifies endangering our health.

We are also concerned on a more global level. Pollution is a problem that affects all of us. Our governor and the governors of Oregon and Washington have made it clear they want to reduge greenhouse gases. Coal is a substantial cause of climate change and greenhouse gases. It makesno sense to work to reduce pollution while at the same time making sure that anyone can continue to burn coal.

The extracted and exported coal that will travel across our state will go to China. We are not isolated from China's air pollution. Pollution worldwide contributes to climate change. Climate change affects us. We don't think private companies' desire to make a profit justifies facilitating yet more coal pollution.

We know the coal companies and railroads have made representations that there is no danger or that they will take steps to prevent the coal dust from escaping along the long route to the terminals. That reminds us of what oil companies said when they were moving through the process of approval for transporting oil from Alaskan ports. Not long before the Exxon Valdez spill, the oil companies promised the Alaska citizens that "not one drop" of oil would spill into Alaskan waters. Of course, more than a drop spilled and the responsible oil companies, as they have done pretty much everywhere there has been a spill, pretty much abdicated responsibility for the aftermath. No matter what the coal companies and railroads represent and no matter how they assure us there will not be any negative effects from the transport, there is no assurance they will be responsible for remedying damages that result.

This proposal is about money. It's about the profits the coal companies and railroads will make.

This proposal is not about jobs. Even though there will be some jobs, they are few and pretty much insignificant in the context of the potential danger to the rest of us affected.

This proposal is not about just one terminal. There are currently five coal export proposals that would transport as much as 150 million tons of coal through the Northwest. The combined impact of the three proposals on air quality, water quality, rail transportation, and local transportation should be considered. We urge the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an area wide Environmental Impact Statement to assess the cumulative impact of these proposals.

The coal export terminals have a great potential for negatively affecting the quality of our lives and the lives of the citizens of our state. We at least deserve your consideration of those potential negative effects when you consider this proposal.

Thank you for considering these comments.

Nancy Helget Peter Fels

Sincerely,

Ms. Nancy Helget 5121 NW Franklin St Vancouver, WA 98663-1634