Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: coal

May
21st

COAL: New technologies can burn coal more cleanly

Gov. Jay Inslee’s energy office wants to wean us off coal and to isolate Washington from the world carbon emission problem (TNT, 5-19).

Coal-burning power plants provide 46 percent of electricity consumed in the U.S., natural gas 23 percent, nuclear power 20 percent, hydro 7 percent and “everything else” 4 percent. Even if “everything else” doubles or triples, the solutions we often hear the most about won’t come close to meeting demand. It’s hopeless to quit burning coal anytime soon, so we need to do it better.

New technologies can cost-effectively achieve 90 percent carbon capture. It’s projected to

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March
12th

COAL: Questions about UW coal train study

An opinion piece discusses University of Washington Professor Cliff Mass’ blog on a coal train study in which Mass concluded that coal trains severely pollute the air, especially near the tracks. Some considerations:

• Was this really an unbiased study, or did the study group go out believing the conclusion ahead of time and merely searched for the “evidence” that would prove their beliefs?

• How far from the tracks would the pollution carry? I believe the study was conducted within about 80 feet of the tracks in Seattle at a large home. That is about the distance

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Feb.
7th

COAL: Free the energy market with a carbon fee

Re: “China may finally be taking air pollution seriously” (editorial, 2-6).

There was an amusement park next to the Asarco smelter in the 1950s. Rides were nine cents on Wednesdays. Summer air tasted of sulphur, and there must have been arsenic and lead in the dust under the go-carts. We didn’t know; no one ever talked about it.

Today the pollution from coal is well understood. Thank you for reporting on it, including the startling fact that deadly pollution from China, some from U.S. coal, is crossing back over the ocean to us.

It is a relief to know

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Nov.
21st

COAL: North Dakota, Wyoming can butt out

There is talk in the news this week about how the attorneys general of Wyoming and North Dakota are urging Washington regulators not to conduct any kind of far-ranging environmental reviews of proposed coal terminals, in spite of the fact that this is precisely what the majority of our state’s citizens have requested.

According to these industry mouthpieces, to take into account the extent of the damage that coal exports represent would interfere with interstate commerce and usurp the federal authority of regulating international trade.

Never mind that, because of environmental and health concerns, the combustion of coal for

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Nov.
20th

COAL: Misinformation on terminal review process needs clarification

The Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview proposal has sparked healthy debate. The lead National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) agencies are working hard to ensure everyone receives the most accurate information possible about the environmental review processes.

With that goal in mind, Cowlitz County and the Department of Ecology, the SEPA co-lead agencies, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the NEPA lead agency, would like to clarify misinformation in a recent Viewpoint (TNT, 11-7).

Cowlitz County and Ecology did not selectively choose to carry out this SEPA process. SEPA has applied to all Washington proposals

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Nov.
1st

COAL: More trains pose a health hazard

My daughter has suffered from asthma for most of her life. As a parent and a (now retired) physician, I am concerned about the negative impact of diesel engine exhaust pollution on my daughter’s health and on the health of others who are afflicted with lung disease. This is why I attended the Oct. 17 hearing in Tacoma regarding the proposed Longview coal export terminal.

Particulate pollution found in diesel engine exhaust has been shown to aggravate asthma and other lung diseases. Diesel engine exhaust is also known to cause lung cancer.

Our own county health department has stated that

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Oct.
25th

COAL: Don’t prolong review of export terminal

Re: “Effects of coal terminals go beyond traffic” (Viewpoint, 10-22).

If a global environmental impact statement is needed for a commodity like coal, what would prevent similar studies for apples, wheat or airplanes? How would that impact the Port of Tacoma’s many jobs and tax revenue? I believe international trade from our port would slow, endangering 43,000 port-related jobs and disrupt $90 million in local and state tax revenues.

What about the goods we import from Asia? What would prevent an EIS on your shoes from Vietnam, your electronics from China or your clothes from India? These countries will

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Oct.
8th

COAL: Why import pollution from Asia?

Re: “Report warns of threats to oceans” (TNT, 10-6).

As a consumer of Northwest seafood, I read with great concern the latest reports of contamination in our waters.

International coal and shipping companies are seeking approval to strip-mine coal in Montana and Wyoming and ship it through ports in the Northwest for export to be burned in East Asian power plants. In reality, we would not be exporting coal; we would be importing mercury, sulfates, ozone, black carbon and other pollutants.

The Pacific Northwest lies directly on the path for pollutants from East Asia. Pollution blown into the jet

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