April 18, 2013 in Letters, Opinion

Stop the threat of coal

 

As a concerned citizen of Spokane, and a user of recreational areas and Pacific Northwest waterways, I am very concerned about coal trains and their dangerous impact on our community and its water. With a few trains a day, we’re already seeing a lot of coal. People here need to know that coal contains toxins like mercury and arsenic, chemicals that will damage water and soil. It is not good for fish to be exposed to these chemicals, or for our families to consume fish that have been exposed to these chemicals.

I’m concerned about the copious amounts of coal falling into our waters that threatens the delicate balance of the Puget Sound and Columbia River ecosystems. Both already have serious enough problems remaining clean without adding coal into them.

Based on BNSF Railroad Company reports, each coal train dumps 10,000 pounds of coal dust in the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River Gorge is a scenic treasure. It should not be a dumping ground for coal. Just do the math, the number of trains times 10,000 pounds of coal dust. It’s frightening.

The coal being found in and around the Northwest waterways right now demonstrates how critical it is that a full cumulative impacts analysis be conducted for all the new coal export proposals in the Northwest.

Sound off. Big coal companies like Peabody and Arch as well as BNSF don’t care about our communities or our waterways; they only care about dollars they can generate off of coal. Talk to other people to educate them about this threat, call and write your representatives in Olympia. Stand your ground.

Bruce Nelson

Spokane


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