Letter to the Editor for Aug. 6, 2013

Coal dust is dangerous

About 8:20 a.m. on July 21, I was about to enter Highway 14 from Cook-Underwood Road.

Before I turned, I looked east and saw a black, menacing tornado –like cloud moving towards me. I didn’t know what it was at first, but as it drew closer I realized it was a coal train headed west on the tracks that closely parallel Highway 14 through the narrow Columbia River Gorge.

The fast-moving rail cars loaded with coal and the reported 25 to 30 mph southwest winds created a forceful energy to lift large globs of coal dust from the loaded rail cars into the air, obscuring visibility on the adjacent highway and rendering driving dangerous.

It took some time for the large clouds of coal dust to settle everywhere, including the White Salmon River estuary. The coal dust also invaded my car, made my eyes sore, and ruined the rest of my day.

Joe Csizmazia, Underwood