Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002714
Received: 11/15/2013 2:15:00 AM
Commenter: Betsy Johnson
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:Betsy Johnson <email@example.com> Sent:Friday, November 15, 2013 2:13 AM To:firstname.lastname@example.org Subject:additional scoping comments
To the Cowlitz County Commissioners, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Washington State Department of Ecology,
I am submitting additional comments and concerns about the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals. (Please see my five-page attachment of concerns from 10/29.)
1. The recent occurrence of Typhoon Haiyan is yet another example of how record weather events are causing unprecedented disaster. The climate is changing is ways for which we are not prepared. In 1930, the winter temperature in Longview dropped to 20 below zero, and the Columbia River froze. During my childhood, in the 60's and 70's, we experienced four distinct seasons. Weather conditions are more moderate now. It is anticipated that the burning of coal shipped through the Millennium Terminal will have a greater affect on the climate than the product of the Canadian Tar Sands. Commissioners, do we REALLY want to be known as the little American community that allowed this to happen? Are we really that selfish? Is this the legacy that we want to leave with Longview?
2. Longview's drinking water supply has recently changed from the Cowlitz River to a groundwater source at the Mint Farm. A major reason for the switch is that volcanic debris from Mount St. Helens increases water turbidity to unacceptable levels. Also rising sand bars and resultant low water levels prevent water intake to the treatment facility. (Please reference the several pages of comments I submitted by email earlier regarding the problem of silt that continues to pour into the Columbia River and the resultant need for ongoing monitoring and dredging to keep commercial channels open for shipping.) For several reasons, of which the Commissions are aware, the water quality in homes is not good, having unusual smell, color, and odor. It is unclear whether or not that problem can be ameliorated. I bring up this problem, because I'd like to appeal to your sense of decency when it comes to considering the quality of life of the citizens of the region. In no way will adding coal trains improve that quality.
3. Although the issue at hand is the Millennium Terminals, it should not be evaluated in isolation. Controversy begins at the source, at the Powder River Basin, where public land is leased by the coal companies. The leases are managed by the Bureau of Land Management under the Department of the Interior. Companies bid on the leases, and the BLM is not supposed to accept bids below the fair market value. Unfortunately, over the last 30 years, the agency has undervalued the resource, costing the tax payers billions of dollars in lost revenue. Additionally, the price of coal sold domestically is generally less than that sold to China, so royalties collected on domestic shipments are lower. At least one company, Cloud Peak Energy, skirted the higher international royalties by first selling the coal to a domestic subsidiary. The federal government's financial relationship to the coal industry is now an unhealthy one, and it is fated to unravel in an ungraceful way. Coal seams will soon become depleted and no longer cost-effective to mine, demand for coal worldwide will decrease, coal companies are already poorly managed and financed, threatening workers livelihoods and pensions. Meanwhile, we have allowed environmental degradation and have delayed investment into sustainable energy sources. What will prevent the shenanigans originating at the mines from filtering down the rail line and into Longview? Nothing. Please evaluate this terminal proposal in a rational way, that is, from its source.
Sincerely, Betsy Johnson