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Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Coal trains

Rail traffic not regulated by cities

Regarding the Sunday editorial "Coal trains are poor policy": I would like to offer a rebuttal to that editorial, based on three factors which the editors seemed to overlook:
1. Much of the coal train traffic is already traveling through Snohomish County, but this coal is off-loaded to ships in southern Canada rather than northern Washington state. A new terminal at Cherry Point may add some additional coal train traffic, but will mainly reduce the coal exports from the Canadian terminal.
2. The train tracks are "interstate commerce" and they were here long before most of us were born. Train traffic cannot be regulated by Marysville or any other municipalities.
3. The Asian countries need the coal for their power plants, and nothing that Washington state does will prevent them from obtaining coal and using it for fuel. If the Cherry Point terminal is not constructed, they will continue to load coal ships in Canada. If the United States outlaws selling our coal, then other countries will gladly sell them coal instead.
Bottom line is that the Asian countries will obtain and burn coal regardless of what Washington state does, and the train traffic cannot be regulated. Not constructing the Cherry Point terminal will only assure that Canada maintains economic benefits from coal shipments rather than the USA. Stopping Cherry Point would have zero impact on GHG production, and minor impact on the train traffic.
Steve Larson
Lake Stevens
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

Josh O'Connor, Publisher:

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