A bit of good news: RailAmerica has decided to abandon the project of transporting coal to a proposed coal export terminal at Grays Harbor, citing other uses as "more likely to generate jobs, economic development, (and) tax revenues." That leaves only five of the proposed six Northwest coal terminals to worry about.
Exporting millions of tons of dirty coal from Wyoming to China endangers our health and communities for decades to come. Massive coal trains could snarl traffic, delay emergency services like police and fire, pollute our air with toxic coal dust, worsen asthma and other health problems with diesel fumes and particulate matter, increase the risk of derailments, diminish property values, hurt farms and small businesses and greatly contribute to global pollution.
America is decreasing its dependence on coal, but the international coal market is also unstable.
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And because of the prevailing winds across the Pacific, data show that 15 percent to 30 percent of atmospheric deposition of mercury in our air and water here in Washington comes from coal-fired power plants in Asia. This is not theoretical, and it will only get worse if we allow these coal trains and terminals to go forward. Wake up, Tri-Cities.
CAROLINE BOWDISH, Pasco