Topic: coal exports
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August 24, 2013 at 8:02 AM
Impacts are important
I am shocked at Lauri Hennessey’s misleading, unsupported comments about Mayor Mike McGinn regarding the coal-export study. [“Mayor had coal-study findings since July,” page one, Aug. 20.]
I hope readers will look at the actual study and note for themselves the many negative impacts for Seattle that coal-train plans would bring.
People need to know more about such impacts as traffic congestion, property-value losses, emergency-response inputs and grade-crossing construction and about the huge costs.
I would urge readers to click on the link to the Sightline Institute, especially to learn about what is missing from the coal study, such as cost estimates for coal dust and diesel-exhaust pollution.
We in Seattle are fortunate that Mayor McGinn is looking out for our interests on the coal-train issue. The commissioned studies are an important piece of the work he is doing on our behalf.
Connie Voget, Seattle
August 23, 2013 at 11:13 AM
The law of unintended consequences
I recently stopped at a railroad crossing and was amazed at the length of time it took to wait for the coal train to pass. [“Mayor had coal-study findings since July,” page one, Aug. 20.]
It was at least five minutes, which made us do the math. If 18 additional coal trains come chugging up the coast to Bellingham and then return, that is 36 additional trips that will disrupt traffic, congest the piers, blight the beaches and local communities with more coal dust, increase asthma and respiratory illnesses, and depreciate real estate.
But that is just the human cost. What about the health of Puget Sound and the salmon and shellfish industries? Coal is quickly becoming a dirty word, as much as the industry would like to call it “clean.”
Why can’t we see the big picture? The global climate is changing rapidly, and if our thriving communities are in danger, we all lose. Sure, there would be some jobs with the coal terminal, but there never seem to be as many as predicted, and the consequences will also harm those who are painting a rosy picture.
Ask the mine workers, ranchers and farmers who traveled all the way from Wyoming and Montana and testified at the public hearings about the law of unintended consequences.
Elizabeth Cunningham, Seattle
May 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM
More extensive study needed
It is extremely disappointing that the Army Corps of Engineers is intending to do only a limited study of the impacts of coal terminals in Oregon and Washington [“Group asks for big picture in Northwest coal-ports decision,” News, May 25].
Thousands of people gave their input on this very subject last November regarding the coal-shipping terminal proposed at Cherry Point, and 90 percent or more of them asked for a wide-ranging study. Were these hearings for nothing? Did the Army Corps already have its mind made up?
Only the coal companies and those intimately associated with them believe that there will be no impact from coal transportation other than from the shipping terminals.
Although the area surrounding the shipping terminals will suffer greatly from coal pollution, each community along the path of coal transportation will also suffer substantially as well. What a tragically shortsighted effort by the Army Corps.
Mike Shaw, Edmonds
May 24, 2013 at 6:02 AM
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
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