Submission Number: MBTL-SEPA-DEIS-0001916
Received: 6/4/2016 4:35:34 PM
Commenter: Ben Belzer
Agency: Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview SEPA DEIS
Attachments: No Attachments
1) The coal dust impact statement in Chapter 5 found that there would be an unavoidable coal dust deposition nuisance impact on people living along the tracks in Cowlitz County. Coal dust deposition will lower their property values, as no one wants to have their house and yard covered with coal dust. No action to compensate homeowners along the rail lines is outlined in the impact statement, which is unacceptable.
2) The loading facility is supposed to voluntarily refuse to accept trains that have not been loaded to reduce fugitive coal dust emissions, i.e., that do not have rounded top profiles, and that have not had a topping agent sprayed on the coal. In practice this is unrealistic and unenforceable. The drive for profits will result in any and all trains being accepted, which will result in far more environmental impact in the area of the loading facility and all along the rail lines than the report predicts. This is unacceptable.
3) The report states that the predicted concentration of barium in fresh water will exceed the federal standards, and then tries to whitewash this prediction by pointing to the conservative assumptions (e.g. 100% bio-availability) employed by the model used to make the prediction, and claiming that the barium will quickly precipitate out of solution. No mention is made of other issues (see item 2 above) that might in fact actually increase the deposition of coal dust and therefore increase freshwater barium concentrations. This is unacceptable.
4) The report makes no mention of the end use of the exported coal. It will be burned as fuel, thereby increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and contributing significantly to global warming. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel; burning it releases far more pollutants than either oil or natural gas. The proposed coal export terminal is just a scheme to export massive air pollution and CO2 emissions to other countries, while providing financial profits to just two or three coal mining companies here in the U.S.. This is unacceptable.
5) Most of the profits of the proposed facility will flow to companies outside Washington State. Why should Washington state residents sacrifice their environmental quality in order to maximize the profits of a few mining companies outside our state?
In light of arguments 1-5 above, I strongly oppose the conclusions of this environmental impact report that the proposed project will have acceptable environmental impacts, and I strongly oppose construction of any coal export terminal in Washington State.