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Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Coal trains


Increased traffic will hurt business

On Dec. 6, a train was stopped due to mechanical problems. For 45 minutes it blocked downtown Mount Vernon intersections, essentially closing down all business traffic. SSA Marine and Peabody Coal propose to build a new coal export facility which will increase train traffic by as many as 18 or more mile-and-half long coal trains per day. How many mechanical problems will block the downtown areas of towns like Marysville and Edmonds? What will be the negative economic effects of traffic congestion in our communities?
On Dec. 7, a coal-carrying ship crashed into the dock of the current coal export facility in Vancouver B.C., destroying the dock and dumping "unspecified amounts" of coal into the water. If coal trains traffic is increased to the Bellingham area, how often will this happen? What will it do to our Puget Sound waters? What will it do to the fishing industry? What will it do the already struggling towns along the railway? Can we afford to let this disruption to our communities happen in order to send coal to China so they can burn it?
It is true that the proposed coal export facility will create some jobs in Whatcom County, and some temporary construction jobs. But according to local fishermen, it could destroy our entire fishing industry. According to local farmers, coal dust has the potential to destroy our local farm communities. And according to recent experiences, coal train traffic can economically hurt our local businesses. A friend just told me he bought property in Kellogg, Idaho, along a railroad track that was turned into a bicycle path. To mitigate the toxic soil near the tracks, 2 to 3 feet of topsoil had to be removed.
I will attend the public hearing in Seattle on Dec. 13, where I will give the Army Corps of Engineers my questions. I want the Environmental Impact Statement to include questions such as these that I consider vital to the quality of our air and water and the future of our community.

Jennie Lindberg
Everett
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Herald Editorial Board

Peter Jackson, Opinion Editor: pjackson@heraldnet.com (@PeterJHerald)

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Jon Bauer, News Editor/Content Development: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

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