State Dept of Ecology to undertake a two year study of coal exports

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Coal train
Photo by Bob Rinehart
In an issue that strikes close to the heart of neighborhoods near the Burlington train tracks, the state Department of Ecology will spend two years studying the environmental impacts of a coal terminal north of Seattle.

In a separate study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Whatcom County will study local impacts on Cherry Point.

From our news partner King 5:
This is the latest episode in a protracted debate over whether Washington should host export terminals and tracks for trains hauling millions of tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming destined to Asia. Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, Wash., is also seeking coal exports.
Read the entire article

King County Executive Dow Constantine expressed some reservations:

“I commend Ecology for looking beyond the local impacts of the coal terminal project and committing to statewide analysis of the impact that sending up to 18 trains a day through the heart of our communities will have on our health, environment, economy, and traffic. 
“Ecology will also shine a light on the greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects that will result from the burning of this coal, which is estimated to be greater than that from all the current emissions generated in Washington State. 
“Ecology’s proposed scope is a good start, but as I have advocated before, a comprehensive and cumulative analysis of the impacts of coal export is essential for us to determine the long-term fate of the environment and economy of Washington State. To understand the full picture it is essential that our federal agencies like the Army Corps step up and conduct a region-wide, cumulative impacts analysis for all three coal terminals proposed in the Pacific Northwest." 


Anonymous,  August 1, 2013 at 6:57 PM  

for some this decision will be based on creating jobs. For others it goes way beyond that. It's not just the environmental aspect it is also the sheer noise level of those 1 1/2 mile long trains - most likely day and night. At any turn and/or ferry/road crossing you have to listen to prolonged whistle blowing. Add to that the crude to come from North Dakot via trains.... never mind all of the 'normal' freight trains. This impacts an enormous number of people along the routes. I fail to see how this improves our quality of life, especially when this 'stuff' is being exported overseas and being processed/used by countries who don't care about pollution. Should we really look the other way? I don't think so.

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