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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 1, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Washington environmental figures hired by coal companies

Coal trains will be inconvenience

A coal tran goes through Seattle on the way to Vancouver, B.C. Recent efforts to bring coal terminals to Washington and Oregon have seen 'green' strategists working with coal companies. (GREG GILBERT/THE SEATTLE TIMES)

A coal tran goes through Seattle on the way to Vancouver, B.C. Recent efforts to bring coal terminals to Washington and Oregon have seen ‘green’ strategists working with coal companies. (GREG GILBERT/THE SEATTLE TIMES)

“ ‘Green’ strategists now back coal trains” [page one, Feb. 26] reveals that a great deal of money is being spent by proponents of coal-unit trains and terminals in Western Washington. This is discouraging and irritating.

Since the proposal was introduced, we have heard a lot about environmental effects, health and safety effects and temporary employment effects. We likely will be hearing a lot more.

The terrible and essentially perpetual adverse effects of the proposal on the public convenience and the quality of life of millions of people who live here are seldom mentioned. Anyone who has waited at a railroad crossing on the Seattle waterfront for the seemingly interminable passing of a unit train moving at a snail’s pace will know what I mean. It actually is being proposed that we all be subjected to this dozens of times a day. This is lunacy.

The coal-unit trains and terminals proposal is a selfish and inherently bad idea. It should be disposed of with all deliberate speed.

–Lee Voorhees, Mercer Island

Coal trains will disrupt environment, job market

Anyone who argues that the jobs argument trumps global warming had better learn how to subtract. The coal-train proposal would disrupt commerce daily throughout the Pacific Northwest, driving away marine-dependent employment from the harbors. Sodo would be gridlocked as commuters wait on 20 miles of coal trains. The Ballard railroad trestle would daily be down for hours, bottling up ships in Lake Union and Salmon Bay.

Exporting 150 million tons of coal puts the long-term future of my industry, North Pacific fishing, at risk. The Port of Seattle estimates 15,000 fishing-related jobs in the Seattle area alone. Increasing acidification in the oceans caused by the burning of carbon-based fuel is already causing damage to the state’s shellfish industry and will, if unchecked, threaten the marine web on which my salmon fishery depends.

Why trade sustainable livelihoods for a few jobs based on a one-time extraction of a nonrenewable resource?

–Pete Knutson, co-owner Loki Fish Company, Seattle

Comments | More in Climate change, Environment, Traffic congestion, Transportation | Topics: coal, Coal trains, fishing

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