Topic: coal train
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August 21, 2013 at 7:27 PM
Beating the weather
Leading up to the Seattle mayoral elections, we find yet another discrediting article on Mike McGinn. [“Mayor had coal-study findings since July,” page one, Aug. 20.]
Still unexamined is how the 18 coal trains each day will keep rolling along during the routine track closures from seasonal mudslides between Seattle and Everett.
Maybe the Times-endorsed candidate and former state Senate budget czar Ed Murray can “collaborate” a fix in the weather?
Peter Beaulieu, Shoreline
Two stories, one global issue
I found it interesting that, on Aug. 20, one front-page article addressed the worldwide cost [“Scientists: sea level may rise 3 feet by 2100,” page one, Aug. 20], and another the local cost, of continuing to burn fossil fuels at a breakneck pace.
The report on the impact of 18 coal trains per day through Seattle had significant consequences for our own community in terms of dollars and cents, but also to our health and safety.
The article on the worldwide impact of increasing carbon dioxide output, translated from the impassive scientific terms and even in its least extreme predictions, sounded nothing short of catastrophic to the global community.
When will we come to our senses and insist that our country turn away from this path to disaster and invest in clean alternative energy sources?
Lisa Dekker, Seattle
August 8, 2013 at 6:27 AM
We must stand up for the environment
As a young person growing up in the 21st century, my biggest concern is climate change. I’m scared, as are other young people, about what our future will be on this warming planet. [“State plans sweeping review of coal port,” page one, Aug. 1.]
Thousands of people have expressed concern over the proposed coal trains running through Washington. Now there’s another project on the rise: export of crude oil from Washington ports, potentially dealing with tar sands oil. My hope fades.
This oil is deadly in more ways than one. On July 6, a train derailed in Lac-Megantic, Canada, resulting in a fiery explosion and 47 residents missing or dead. Spills are deadly to the ecosystem, too. The Gulf of Mexico has yet to recover from the BP oil spill of 2010.
As Washingtonians, we need to ask ourselves if we will let our ecosystem suffer the effects of coal and crude oil, or will we lobby to protect our climate? Will we enable the burning of more fossil fuels on this warming planet, which our children will soon inherit? I won’t.
Sara Grendon, Seattle
August 7, 2013 at 5:56 AM
Bad for the economy
Let’s dispense with the Department of Ecology’s review and save the state several million dollars. [“State plans sweeping review of coal port,” page one, Aug. 1.]
There’s no way this coal project will ever get approved by the state of Washington. But let’s at least acknowledge a few things in the process.
One, China is still going to get its coal, now from Canada.
Two, the Canadians get the jobs and the taxes associated with the coal operations.
Given the recent Boeing decision to move work to California, it’s increasingly obvious that the business environment in Washington is in serious trouble.
At least we can count on the $15-per-hour fast-food jobs. Good thing, because that’s all the jobs that are going to be left here.
Tracy Neighbors, Sammamish
August 5, 2013 at 11:35 AM
The impact is obvious
Washington’s Department of Ecology doesn’t need two years to find out what we already know about coal terminals. [“State plans sweeping review of coal port,” page one, Aug. 1.]
First, if they nullify Lummi tribal treaties, they will kill hundreds of jobs that have supported Lummi families for thousands of years.
We already can see Boeing sending jobs out of state. Add hundreds of coal trains to the same rail system Boeing uses to ship fuselages, and watch how fast they’ll decide to send thousands more good paying jobs elsewhere.
Trout in our supposedly pristine alpine lakes have high lead content. Coal pollution drifts from China to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, damaging our quality of life here. The coal industry calls it progress.
With all this, there’s only one determination left to make: how shortsighted will the decision makers in Washington state be?
William McQuaid, Seattle
August 2, 2013 at 6:32 AM
State and county taking responsible action
I am heartened that the Washington Department of Ecology will step up to the task shirked by the Army Corps of Engineers. ["State plans sweeping review of coal port," page one, August 1.]
Limiting the environmental-impact study to the export terminals alone would have ignored impacts to communities all along the rail lines, and in fact to all Washingtonians, as the exported coal is turned into carbon pollution overseas.
It’s good to know that our elected officials are listening and capable of taking responsible action.
David Perk, Seattle
June 26, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Carbon emissions must be considered
My faith in The Seattle Times’ editorial balance has been boosted with Lance Dickie’s column on the Army Corps of Engineer’s review of the proposed coal export and mile-long trains through Western Washington. [“Corps should broaden coal review,” Opinion, June 21.]
Disruption of our cities and coal dust littered along side of every mile of train track used beg a more thoughtful review. However, as the president announces the proposed limitations on carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, the emissions of the inevitable burning of this coal in plants around the world should be more broadly viewed. These plants, be they existing or yet to be built, will not provide protection against further carbon emissions.
Coal-fired power plants represent one of the largest activities contributing to pollution of the environment. Thanks for at least proposing a broader review of the region’s next major decision.
Ron Quist, Seattle
June 26, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Deal is unwise, harmful
Will someone please stop the insanity? I read with horror and disbelief that the Crow Tribe of Billings, Mont., has struck a real bowzer of a “deal” in its plans to mine at Powder River Basin, shipping more than 20 million additional tons of coal through Oregon and Washington annually. [“Montana tribe’s coal deal wins government OK,” NW Friday, June 21.]
The economically struggling Crow Tribe anticipates mining jobs and scholarships for its children. 13,000 people stand to benefit from this federally approved agreement. I don’t believe the people in Montana and Wyoming have any idea, however, of the magnitude of the negative impact their greenlighted plan could have on the Pacific Northwest.
Cherry Point, one of two sites in Washington proposed for exporting coal, is home to the Lummi Tribe in Whatcom County, and as a sacred historical site, the Lummi say it is protected by a federally enacted treaty. The Lummi Tribe relies heavily on the local fishing and crabbing industry. This would all be lost and the jobs offered by Gateway Pacific (less than 1,800 to begin with, falling to 294 permanent jobs after construction) would not compensate at all.
We can do better than this sellout “deal.”
Wendy Bartlett, Bellingham
June 25, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Full scope of consequences of coal must be considered
I agree with Lance Dickie regarding the Army Corps of Engineers’ recent decision not to perform a comprehensive review of a proposal that would dramatically increase the number of trains transporting coal designated for export through Washington. [“Column: Corps should broaden coal review,” Opinion, June 21.]
Considering that global climate change is already impacting Washington’s environment and is projected to cost our state billions of dollars through loss of ecosystem services, increased forest fires, acidification of the ocean and sea-level rise, an in-depth review of the impact of coal exports is essential.
The exported coal would be burned in Asia and contribute to further warming of the atmosphere, which would then contribute to further melting of sea ice in the Arctic, creating an ever larger ocean surface to absorb rather than reflect solar radiation, leading to more global warming.
The rise in temperature would lead to even greater shrinking of Washington’s glaciers and snowpacks, reducing the availability of water for irrigation, power generation and salmon fisheries. Increased acidification of the ocean harms the organisms that live there. In addition to damaging the marine ecosystem, ocean acidification threatens the local shellfish industry, which according to a NOAA fact sheet employs more than 3,000 people and contributes at least $270 million to the local economy.
Large-scale coal transports through Washington also pose significant environmental threats that could endanger the health and livelihoods of communities in the Columbia River Gorge and other areas along the transportation route.
Any decision made regarding coal exports must be based on a solid understanding of all the facts and potential consequences they entail.
Barbara Bengtsson, Seattle
June 22, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Coal is bad for families
The indifference of the Army Corps of Engineers to the continued destructive global and regional effects resulting form the mining, shipping and burning of coal is also gross indifference to the health of children everywhere. [“Corps review won’t weigh impact of coal beyond NW,” NW Wednesday, June 19.]
As they grow, these children increasingly bear the negative results. To promote coal as a means of creating family-wage jobs is to license the deterioration of family health.
Guy Burneko, Seattle
Coal is harmful
Who is responsible for stopping global warming? The Army Corps of Engineers seems to be saying, ”not us!”
This is wrong. American policy should require every government decision to include the climate consequences, and officials should choose the low-carbon alternative.
Corporate investment in producing and installing solar and other clean-energy technologies instead of shipping coal would provide more employment, increased exports and higher profits.
Coal burned anywhere in the world kills baby oysters, shrivels crops, floods riverbanks and torches forests. For the Army Corps to ignore the emissions of burning coal relieves the coal industry of responsibility for its pollution, and we, the citizens, bear the consequences.
Louise Stonington, Seattle
June 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Army Corps decision irresponsible
I am writing to express my deep concern and outrage that the Army Corps of Engineers has chosen to ignore the multitude of individuals and state agencies that have requested a cumulative analysis of the coal-export proposal. [“Corps review won’t weigh impact of coal beyond NW,” NW Wednesday, June 19.]
A broad, comprehensive review of the true impacts on communities is the only way for our state to gather the information necessary before determining the future of these proposals.
It was quite illuminating that some congressional Republicans view the push to examine the greenhouse-gas emissions of exports as “a troubling trend.” It must seem “troubling” to them that some people are willing to weigh the consequences of decisions made now against the future impacts on our environment and our children.
Colleen Rowe, Edmonds
Coal is widely used in the U.S.
Instead of all the time and expense of going to Washington, D.C., to testify before a subcommittee of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, perhaps Mayor Mike McGinn should order that the city of Seattle do without 42 percent of electricity it uses everyday, the amount of total U.S. electricity demand provided by burning coal.
Eric Tronsen, Seattle
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