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COAL: Let’s be realistic about trains and coal

Letter by Joe V. Peterson, Tacoma, and Thomas Payne, Parkland on June 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm with 14 Comments »
June 15, 2012 12:51 pm

Re: “Reject plan for coal export terminals” (Your Voice, 6-12).

The author’s naivete is startling. Let’s be realistic about neighbors, trains and coal.

• Coal is a legal product.

• Railways have an obligation under U.S. law to deliver freight.

• Wyoming and Montana mines have high-quality low sulfur coal to sell.

• China has a need for coal. It will buy it, either from U.S. and Canadian low-sulfur, high Btu quality coals or continue to burn the high-sulfur, low Btu quality coals it uses now, with its attendant environmental effects.

• Coal ports in Canada are planning to double their capacities. They will take all the tonnage offered.

• With no port here, the trains will go to Canada, adding hundreds of miles to the transport, all with attendant environmental costs.

• The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad has adopted tested and proven Canadian standards for reducing coal train dust. Research and decades of practice prove they work.

• There is adequate rail capacity to handle the trains.

• U.S. small investors and pension funds buy railway and coal mine stocks for the constant and steady long-term dividends they pay, as well as their preservation of value.

• Communities in Washington state have a record of turning down wind farms, tidal energy, solar power, thermal energy and new hydro. China, in fact, is the biggest builder of wind and solar power.

(Peterson is an instructor of ethics with Pierce College Military College Programs. Payne is a locomotive engineer and member of the Canadian Railroad Hall of Fame.)

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Great points. The extreme environmental left think it we slow/block coal exports China and other nations will stop using coal. All they do is destroy blue collar jobs and hurt the middle class with higher energy costs.

    Another example of leftist policy hurting the middle class.

  2. One sign of a third world country is they export raw material and import manufactured goods.

    Why not use the coal here in America.

  3. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Because the EPA just killed coal usage in America.

  4. averageJoseph says:

    Why not use the coal here in America

    Ask OBlame-o


  5. Love how the Right want to turn America into China. If we limit EPA regulations we could just get into the habit of breathing through masks like the Chinese do! And, if we destroy all the Unions we can move the workers into cramped, unsanitary dormitories, get rid of overtime, weekends and holidays and then we are sure to be just as good as the Chinese!

  6. averageJoseph says:

    LOve how the Left constructs strawmen … well, it’s rather boring actually.

  7. Coal can be used in America, but the plants need to be ecologically sound.

    Why does the conservative mind think so limited? Progressive cavemen must have invented the wheel.

  8. averageJoseph says:

    Kooky, there was no government, no government regulations, no entitlements, no social security, no unions, no welfare, no unemployment benefits, and no free-loaders… back in caveman days. Just entrepreneur’s trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.

    (there was global warming tho)

  9. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Lol aJ.

    I thought the left envied China for its ability to central plan?

    No one is calling for enviromental damage, but a balance is required. Killing off an entire industry (coal) before a suitable (read economically similar) alternatative is found is stupid. Some areas of America are planning for home energy prices to go 5x in as many years. A whole blue collar industry is being wiped out.

    How about a moratorium on regulations for 10 years? Let business recovery, get people to work.

  10. The authors are incorrect on almost every point they make. However, if they are convinced that these proposed massive increases in coal exports pose no threat to our region, they should not object to the preparation of a Programatic Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA to affirm or dismiss the threat. After all that is all most critics of the proposals have requested to date.

  11. joeintacoma says:

    Ok tedn5, make your points, references welcome. Peterson and Payne.

  12. joeintacoma says:

    concernedtacoma7 Mr Payne and Mr Peterson are left of center. We are just not to the ‘tree hugger’ stage of stupidity on the left nor greedy bastards on the right. Here, utiliatarian ethics trumps Kantian ethis due to factual pragmatics and not idealist “Walden Pondisms”

  13. joeintacoma says:

    xring Coal has been exported from the US since before it was the US. What makes something a third world country is it doesn’t get the benifit of the finished product. We get the benifit of Communist China’s agressive capitalist production… it’s been good for Walmart and millions of flag waving American homes. I bet you have it in your home, too?

  14. averageJoseph says:

    … and China was exempt from the Kyoto Protocol… kooky.

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