May 5, 2012 in Letters, Opinion

Stop the coal trains


Multinational coal companies plan to strip-mine the Powder River Basin in Montana and transport low-grade, dirty coal by rail to terminals on the coast of Washington and Oregon, then send it on huge ships to China and other rising Asian powers to be burned by their industries and grow their economies.

Over 100 million tons of this dirty coal will pass through Spokane every year loaded into open coal cars in trains over a mile long. Today, we see five or six coal trains a day. Soon, we will have 55 to 65 trains, or more. A tenfold increase in train traffic will devastate the infrastructure of our city, spreading toxic coal dust over the landscape, with derailments, traffic snarls and tons of diesel-generated air pollution every year to a city that regularly experiences thermal inversions.

What’s in it for Spokane? Absolutely nothing. No new jobs and an end to what makes Spokane so beautiful.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has called for a cumulative environmental impact statement before allowing these terminals to be built. People in Spokane deserve a public hearing when we stand to be impacted so directly. Our voices need to be heard!

Mark Rhodes


Get stories like this in a free daily email