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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 24, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Northwest coal exports

Hold public forums

The question of bringing oil and coal rail cars to the Port of Grays Harbor appears to be a trade-off between public-health concerns and money for the harbor [“Groups ask for big picture look at NW coal ports,” seattletimes.com, May 22]. Therefore, it seems obvious that the county and the port should hold public forums just like we did at the Grays Harbor Public Utility District and Olympia for the Satsop Nuclear Power Plant in 1989.

Currently, there are questions we should ask about oil and coal: What effect will these materials have on our respiratory health? What is the destination? Who is the end user? What will the end users do with the product when they get it? What is the scientific and global implication of the end user increasing particulate matter in the atmosphere?

There are lots of complicated questions to be asked. It appears that it’s not just a matter of local elected officials getting approvals from the county to move forward with more rail cars coming to the port. If the broader implication is about the health of our children and ourselves, let’s have a public discussion and then let the chips fall where they may.

Jerry Taylor, Elma

Economic stability is also important

Reading Roger McClellan’s guest column and the misinformation repeated by the press — about the proposed Whatcom County Gateway Pacific Terminal multi-commodity, dry bulk cargo-handling facility — shows how project opponents use false information to convince government authorities to prevent project approval [“Let science, not conjecture, guide discussion of coal-train dangers,” Opinion, May 10].

While our rigorous attention to environmental sustainability is essential, so is equally rigorous attention to our economic sustainability.

We can be certain that the project’s design and operation will comply with environmental regulations as well as provide urgently needed jobs. Remember, quality of life begins with a job and private-sector job holders pay the entire cost of government.

We need to get the Gateway Pacific Terminal up and running as soon as possible.

John Fluke, Cle Elum

Comments | More in Economy, Environment | Topics: coal, coal exports, Coal trains

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