Letters to the Editor

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POLLUTION: Coal proposal harmful to the Northwest

Letter by Ralph T. Nation, Olympia on April 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm with 10 Comments »
April 30, 2012 2:18 pm

Major coal and shipping companies propose to strip-mine coal in Montana and Wyoming, transport it on long coal trains and massive cargo ships through Washington and Oregon, and sell it to Asia. Almost every major Washington community including Tacoma could be impacted.

According to Climate Solutions, shipping 130 million tons of coal annually would add more than 9,000 mile-long coal trains to Washington’s rail system every year. In addition to the added traffic congestion, there would be a variety of other impacts.

Each train car can lose 500 pounds of coal dust en route, polluting rivers, coastlines, farms, cities and towns along the way. The wide-ranging health dangers of coal dust include exposure to toxic heavy metals like mercury and increased rates of asthma, especially in children.

Coal dust and diesel exhaust from coal trains and cargo ships can cause serious long-term health problems like lung and heart disease. In addition, coal dust would pollute our clean air and water.

Burning an additional 130 million to 150 million tons of coal annually in Asia would also produce pollution issues in Washington. Recent scientific studies show that Asia is already an increasing source of mercury and other pollutants on the West Coast. Burning the coal would also significantly increase carbon dioxide levels, aggravating climate change.

To learn more, attend the Coal Hard Truth Forum at 7 p.m. May 8 in the University Center at Pacific Lutheran University.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. aislander says:

    So…each coal gondola is 500 pounds lighter at the end of the trip? Do tell…

  2. Surely, if the EPA and BLM can do anything, they can require that coal cars be sealed to prevent/minimize the escape of coal dust.

    We need the jobs as much as the Chinese need the coal.

  3. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Anything else we can attribute to these coal cars? Sounds like Satan himself will fly out and pluck children from the side of the track.

    Nope, let’s end all commerce in America. I mean, coal mining has never occurred in North America so why start now. If we do not hand our energy to the Chinese, they will just cut back and join the green revolution.

    It’s all about the children.

  4. averageJoseph says:

    “According to Climate Solutions” LOL… we get it, good one.

  5. took14theteam says:

    Crap! I was next to a train carrying coal today. No wonder I can’t breath now.

  6. RLangdon says:


  7. The rest of the story is that the coal can not be used in this country so we are going to ship it overseas for the Chinese to use.

  8. Okay, well, most of the loose coal dust is going to be blown off the train in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, so by the time the training gets here we’d get very little residual dust. I’m okay with that. You?

  9. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Xring, if you read the propaganda to the editor you would see “sell it to Asia”.

    It is not a gift. It would mean jobs and taxes paid here. They (the Chinese) are going to get their coal from somewhere, why not us? If we say no it does not stop them from getting it. Sorry to burst your progressive bubble.

  10. CT7 – did I say not to sell it. NO,I did not.

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