Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0003300 

Received: 11/16/2013 12:43:00 PM
Commenter: John Kersting
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:John Kersting <johnkersting@yahoo.com> Sent:Saturday, November 16, 2013 12:43 PM To:comments@millenniumbulkeiswa.gov Subject:Docket number 2013-19738: Comment on scope of EIS for Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview LLC Coal Export Terminal

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

I strongly oppose the construction of a coal export terminal at Longview, WA which would transport coal on trains and ships throughout the Northwest.
Many communities throughout America continue to unwillingly accept the risks and damage that rail traffic includes particularly with oil, coal and waste materials. In 2013 many of us are fed up with the bullying of oil and coal companies and mostly overtaken government agencies and corrupt officials whose loyalty lies not with the citizens, but corporations. It is long past time to clearly protect our own health and that of future generations.

My relatives mostly live in Hegwisch, a suburb of Chicago where huge amounts of oil and tar sand coke residues are being piled on the Calumet River where our family has spent decades restoring health and access only to see the Koch Brothers annihilate it's environment.

My brother lives in the Northside of Montana, where he has renovated an entire neighborhood area with affordable housing, restored numerous small businesses-their business and building structures and provided a renaissance of the blighted neighborhood. He and I are furious that the nearby railyard has horrendous environmental practices including allowing poorly running diesel engines pouring toxins in the air to run for days, numerous idling engines habitually disturbing and polluting the neighborhood people and of course spilling regular amounts of by waste coal, oil and chemicals into the area. Efforts to get city leaders to move the facility out of town are met with deaf ears despite a nationwide move recognizing the value of moving them and to do just that.

Please accept the following strategies to improve rail car construction and operations to protect our communities from the risks associated with transporting crude oil and tar sands by rail:

Old and outdated tank cars (e.g. the DOT-111 that carries crude oil and tar sands) should be removed from the rails before it's too late. An immediate ban on the use of DOT-111 cars, and other inferior cars, is preferable to a lengthy phase-out that leaves communities at risk.

Emergency responders, local governments, and the public deserve to know when we are being put at risk. Please notify rail communities that are likely to see major increases in coal transport due to the many new proposed terminals.

Trains aren't safe when operated by just one tired engineer. Trains should be required to have two operators, provide sleeping facilities for engineers, and have automatic brakes (dead-man switches) to prevent roll away accidents.

Please adopt these and any other improved safety standards that will protect our communities from spills or explosions of hazardous cargo in rail accidents.

Furthermore, please take aggressive action to hold oil, coal and gas extraction transportation liable for associated costs, higher safety standards reflecting the day and aggressive action to phase out dirty fuels that have never well-served our nation particularly children, the elderly or those in fragile health.

This proposal would negatively affect my community by increasing congestion and noise with more coal train traffic, polluting our air and local waterways, harming existing businesses, and delaying emergency responders. It would also damage aquatic ecosystems and fishing areas on the Columbia River, harm human health, increase tanker traffic and the potential for shipping accidents and spills, expand strip- mining in Wyoming and Montana, and escalate climate change.

It is insulting to hear the coal industry tell us the lack of complaints and science proving the vast amounts of coal dust do not harm us or the environment. As a journalist and Special Education teacher, I am well aware of a strong body of evidence that harm comes from the number and quantities involved in exposure to pollutants and that our bodies especially of children have alarming levels of toxins.

I urge you to consider these impacts in the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement.

Thank you

John Kersting

John Kersting 2404 Olympia Ave NE Olympia, WA 98506 360-970-5550