Submission Number: MBTL-SEPA-DEIS-0001912
Received: 6/4/2016 11:31:22 AM
Commenter: Elizabeth Brunner
Agency: Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview SEPA DEIS
Attachments: No Attachments
I am commenting in opposition to the proposed terminal.
As a longtime Oregonian with ties in Astoria, I drive through the Longview area frequently and enjoy stopping to eat occasionally. Were this terminal to be built, you can be sure that I would change my route and drive a different way instead to avoid the coal dust.
But it's not just for me. I recommend against this terminal because I do not think it's a smart development step for Longview. Turning Longview into a coal export town will preclude any non-coal related business investment in the town. Then what happens to Longview when the coal export business dries up? You're stuck with an enormous environmental mess and an unlivable community.
The DEIS does not adequately consider the economic and reputational risks to Longview and other communities impacted by coal trains and dust. Studies elsewhere have shown real estate values to decline due to increased train traffic, and businesses will not choose to relocate to “coal towns.”
The DEIS claims that coal can be exported competitively to Asia, but virtually all of the available data shows that at current and anticipated future market conditions, the project is a bust.
And in the meantime, what happens to the quality of life in Longview?
The DEIS predicts 19 coal train accidents per year, which is likely an underestimate. Rail and shipping accidents happen (look at Mosier right now) and overloading the system with coal will make them even more likely.
The terminal will bring with it a huge coal dust pollution problem. Coal dust from open piles of coal is a huge problem in other places with coal transport. Coal dust coats neighbors’ homes, cars and boats, and the water quality around terminals is bad. In communities that have coal piles, companies are often unreliable in their control of coal dust, and local communities have been forced to bear the cost of cleaning up the problem, monitoring coal dust, or pursuing lawsuits to hold companies accountable. The final EIS should look harder at real world examples of coal dust pollution in terminal communities.
There is a reason that other towns in the Pacific Northwest have said no. They know that this proposal is a bad deal for the transport communities and that it will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Approving this project would be contrary to clean energy and fossil fuel transition policies recently passed in Washington and a step backward for the entire world.
Please say no to this proposal. Longview can grow in other ways that will be better for it, and better for the world. The coal transport terminal is a bad deal for Longview and bad deal for Washington.