Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0002907 

Received: 11/14/2013 4:32:00 PM
Commenter: Steve Thompson
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:Steve Thompson <sthompsonmt@gmail.com> Sent:Thursday, November 14, 2013 4:32 PM To:comments@millenniumbulkeiswa.gov Subject:comments on Longview coal export terminal, Docket number 2013- 19738

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

As a resident of Whitefish, Montana,my house neighbors the Hi-Line route of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. I strongly oppose the construction of a coal export terminal at Longview, WA which would transport coal on trains and ships throughout the Northwest.

I have five major concerns about this and other closely related coal export facilities that have been proposed on the West Coast. I ask you to fully consider these concerns and impacts in the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Longview facility.

1) Rail congestion: Increased rail traffic to transport coal from Montana and Wyoming to West Coast ports, which is likely to increase coal traffic past my house if the coal export plans of the coal and railroad companies are fully implemented. BNSF is in the process of expanding its capacity for train traffic through the Whitefish line, including the Whitefish Tunnel. This may adversely affect Amtrak's Empire Builder train schedules and the tourism economy. It will increase noise and pollution from diesel exhaust and potentially from fugitive coal dust. Increased train traffic will result in traffic blockages at three railroad crossings in Whitefish, two of which are the only means of ingress and egress for residential neighborhoods and Whitefish Lake State Park.

2) Water quality: An oil tanker hauled by BNSF locomotives derailed and dumped into Whitefish Lake more than 20 years ago. The company finished cleanup only last year. The EIS should examine mitigation efforts to prevent derailments and spills into our public waterways as well as cleanup and containment provisions. Increased rail congestion is likely to increase the risk.

3) Rancher livelihood and property rights: Closely connected to this proposed action is proponent Arch Coal's plan, with BNSF as a partner, to use federal powers of condemnation to seize land owned by private Montana ranchers to build the Tongue River Railroad to facilitate the export of coal through West Coast ports. Arch Coal, who is actively promoting development of West Coast coal export terminals, also seeks to strip mine coal on public land at Otter Creek. Federal condemnation of a rancher's private land to give it to a private corporation can be justified only if it's in the public interest. Stripping Montana coal to ship it to China is clearly not in the public interest. The same test should be applied to the proposed Longview coal export terminal.

4) Climate change: It is abundantly clear that the people of the world, collectively and individually, need to stop liberating into the air carbon that has been buried for millions of years. Due to accelerating climate pollution, the world's civilizations are hurtling toward an irreversible climate catastrophe. Elected leaders in Washington, DC, have proven themselves feckless and completely incapable of dealing with this existential threat to life as we know it on this planet. Fortunately, previous elected officials have passed laws that allow agencies to step in as the adults to protect the Earth's environment for future generations. Please do that by fully considering the climate impacts of exporting coal to China.

Please deny public approval of the proposed Longview coal export terminal!

Thank you.

Steve Thompson PO Box 4471 Whitefish, MT 59937