Submission Number: MBTL-EIS-0003485
Received: 11/10/2013 1:01:00 PM
Commenter: Tina Lassen
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:Friends of the Columbia Gorge <Advocacy@GorgeFriends.org> on behalf of Tina Lassen <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent:Sunday, November 10, 2013 1:01 PM To:Placido, Elaine Subject:Docket number 2013-19738: Comment on scope of EIS for Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview LLC Coal Export Terminal
Nov 10, 2013
Director Elaine Placido 207 4th Ave. N. Kelso, WA 98626
Dear Director Placido,
Please accept these scoping comments for the environmental impact statement for the Millennium Bulk Terminal (MBTL) proposal for Longview, WA.
NO! The proposal to export coal from the Powder River Basin through the Columbia River Gorge is a terrible idea. It would have a significant, negative environmental impact to the Columbia River Gorge, a federally designated National Scenic Area. This must be included in the scope of analysis for the environmental impact statement (EIS).
The Columbia River Gorge is world-renowned for its natural scenic beauty, diversity in plants and wildlife, cultural resources and recreation. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act requires protection and enhancement of its scenic, natural, cultural, and recreation resources and air quality. Therefore, the EIS must evaluate the transportation of coal by rail in open coal cars through the Gorge, and the likely expansion of tracks and siding in the Gorge that would be necessary to accommodate up to 18 additional trains per day.
Air quality in the Columbia River Gorge is already degraded from the few coal trains that currently pass through, with large amounts of coal spilling into waterways and sensitive plant and wildlife areas. This area is a natural wind tunnel, funneling air between coast and desert through a deep basalt gorge. These unique conditions--which make the Gorge a world-renowned windsurfing and kiteboarding destination--magnify the negative impacts of diesel emissions and coal dust. The effects on human health and the environment from up to 18 coal trains per day must be analyzed.
What's more, the economy of the Columbia River Gorge is dependent on agriculture and tourism. Degradation of the environment here would have a devastating impact on our economy. In other words, to provide some short-term economic benefits to one area, this coal-export idea would decimate the economy in one another.
It is well documented that coal-burning power plants are a dirty and outdated source of energy, one that significantly adds to greenhouse gas emissions. It is absurd to consider investing in such a destructive industry.
The purpose and need for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal (MBTL) project should be broadened to look at economic development and environmental needs for the entire region and for the global climate. Furthermore, the Army Corps of Engineers should refrain from making a decision on any permits until an area-wide EIS is completed to analyze the impacts of all three coal export proposals in the Pacific Northwest.
Ms. Tina Lassen 1009 Lincoln St Hood River, OR 97031-1737