Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002878 

Received: 11/7/2013 7:09:00 PM
Commenter: Jim Steitz
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:Jim Steitz <jimsteitz@mac.com> Sent:Thursday, November 07, 2013 7:09 PM To:comments@millenniumbulkeiswa.gov Subject:Reject Suicide by Coal Export at Longview

Dear U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, WA Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County Commission:

I write in strongest opposition to any permit for the "Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview" coal terminal at Longview, Washington. This terminal would constitute an ecological disaster at every step in the life- cycle of the coal, from its mining, through transport, to combustion in its intended Chinese power plants. The Longview export terminal frustrates the maintenance of a planet that can sustain human life, and serves no other valid purpose, and must therefore be rejected by the Army Corps of Engineers.

This project is one of five such export terminal proposals that would export on the order of 150 million tons of coal through the Pacific Northwest. This volume of coal would constitute an unmitigated ecological disaster, in violent opposition to the Obama Administration's objective of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. COE must reject these proposals, starting with Longview. President Obama has expressed an overall goal of moving America toward a lower-carbon economy, and to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. If these goals are to have any meaningful policy expression within the agencies, such as COE, tasked with carrying out Administration policy, then COE cannot issue this permit at Longview. This terminal would be linked via rail lines and riverine barges to some of the larges carbon bombs in North America, namely the coalfields of eastern Montana and Wyoming, and human survival demands that this coal remain securely underground.

The MBTL terminal, and its sister proposals along the Pacific Northwest coast, would be especially and painfully ironic for a pair of states that have otherwise made admirable and meritorious progress in shifting to clean energy and ecological sustainability more broadly. I am a former resident of the Oregon coast (Newport), and I can scarcely fathom the horrific reversal of ecological paradigm that these coal- export terminals would constitute. The Pacific Northwest's role in the global energy infrastructure would invert from a leader in the low-carbon transition, to a conduit of death for the highest-carbon fuels on Earth. I understand the MBTL terminal would convey up to 44 million tons of coal annually, a disastrous setback in American efforts to restrain carbon emissions. The State of Washington has already committed itself to regional greenhouse gas reduction initiatives, and even though the initiatives are not yet self-enforcing, these coal-export terminals would dwarf any carbon reductions attained in those frameworks. It therefore is a contrary and irreconcilable public policy.

Even the smallest scope of environmental analysis, the terminal itself and the proximate impact to the local natural and human environment, shows the MBTL proposal to be grossly unacceptable. The coal shipping traffic through the Columbia River, the local air and water pollution, congestion, and destruction of the community ambiance, would transform the local area into a purgatory of industrial misery. The river ecosystem, whose marine mammals and fisheries are already under severe stress from hydroelectric dams, fishing pressure, and water quality degradation, would face another maelstrom of industrial pollution, noise, and physical displacement. The residents of Longview, and other communities for whom this permit would set a precedent, did not necessarily move there to experience one of America's largest commodity export projects operating more hours than not. Persons wishing a full-time industrial experience have ample other places in America to live, and Longview need not be one of them.

Again, please reject the permit for the "MBTL" coal export terminal at Longview, and keep the Pacific Northwest coast from initiating a literal "millennium" of global climate catastrophe. Thank you for your attention to this urgent issue.

Jim Steitz 564 Esslinger Drive Gatlinburg, TN 37738 US