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Wed., April 4, 2012

Different train of thought

Regarding the David Camp March 24 letter, “Coal trains a threat.”

Camp should acquaint himself with some facts on the coal trains and their content. First, the BNSF Railway line between Sandpoint and Spokane is approaching its capacity of 65 trains a day, including four coal trains, two loaded and two empties. The limiting factor is the line itself, a single track with sidings for passing. The greatest impediment to additional trains is the BNSF single track 0.9 mile bridge over Lake Pend Oreille south of Sandpoint, a factor that will not be readily changed.

He obviously has not acquainted himself with the facts on Powder River Basin coal found in U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1625-A. Google it. For example, the coal averages 27.6 percent moisture, its average sulfur content of 0.48 percent vs. 5 percent for eastern coal, and the mercury content is 0.13 PPM. There is a high probability that the 500-pound weight loss per car over the 1,100 mile trip from mine mouth to the coast is moisture evaporation and not coal dust, as the opponents claim. The chemical content makes it a desirable fossil fuel when compared with coal from other sources.

The BNSF system has been here for over 100 years. Get used to it.

Richard F. Creed

Sagle, Idaho

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