March 1, 2014 in Letters, Opinion

Monitor coal transit


Congratulations to the Washington Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County for recognizing the broad scope of the environmental impact of the proposed increased coal train transit. It is very shortsighted for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look only at the terminal’s impact. These trains originate in Montana and Wyoming and pass through many miles of farm and ranch lands, rural communities, cities, rivers, wetlands and pristine forests.

We lived at Granite Lake, and the track crossed the wetlands on a high fill. The wetlands and lake are filled with wildlife, nesting areas, habitat for many bird species and are a watering hole for deer, elk, moose and bear; not to mention the human impact for those who live, hunt and fish there.

The effect of blowing coal dust off of the open cars alone would have an impact on the habitat. Imagine the devastating effect if there was a derailment and coal spilled into the wetland and lake.

And who would be responsible for mitigation?

We live in North Idaho, close to the tracks, and depend on emergency response that could be hampered by increased traffic. We want to share this beautiful lane with our grandchildren.

Ernie Hawks


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