Letters to the Editor for May 28, 2013

Protect the environment from coal

On April 2, The Sierra Club and allies announced their plan to sue the coal industry and the railroads for allowing coal dust to blow off their cars and leak out the bottom. They identified several places in the Gorge including Horse Thief Lake and Dallesport where the coal dust was several inches deep next to the river.

Columbia Riverkeeper also floated some clean containers in the water and determined that coal dust was presently being released into the river. This seems to be a violation of the Clean Water Act.

In Clark County, if the County Commissioners allowed builders to track dust near a storm drain, the Commissioners would each be fined $25,000 per day per outfall. Why is the coal industry allowed to dump dust in the river, and other people aren’t?

Dust of any kind settles on, and rots, salmon eggs and the eggs of the bugs that juvenile salmon eat. The coal industry is planning to export 30 miles of coal trains per day through the Gorge. Trains will cross dozens of salmon bearing streams before reaching the proposed terminals in Longview, Clatskanie, Boardman, and Bellingham.

In 2005, the White House said that for every $1 we spend reducing diesel emissions, we’d save $4 in health care costs. Since then we’ve spent millions cleaning the diesel engines of school buses, long haul trucks and public transit. We did this to protect our health and blue skies, not to provide room for 1300 diesel locomotives and 100 tugs to traverse our air-shed every week. Locomotives won’t begin to meet the new emission standards until 2016.

This summer there will be a public hearing regarding the proposed Longview Terminal. If you want to be notified, write to crVanWash@gmail.com

Don Steinke, Vancouver

Coal exports pose health risks

As a grandmother, a mother and a nurse, I see coal exports as dangerous to our health.

This is nothing like 60 years ago, when my grandmother burned coal in her stove.

Coal tycoons actually propose sending over 100 million tons more of coal through Washington per year, on uncovered, mile long trains. Coal particles dropping from these trains contain mercury, lead, and arsenic, contaminating our waters, grazing lands, vineyards and gardens.

Columbia Gorge fish acquiring more toxic mercury, would stop our fishermen from bringing fish home for dinner.

Modern technology is being used, somewhat for safety. Mainly, high technology is used to help Warren Buffet, with his over $30 billion, and Ambre Energy, of Australia, to gulp up more billions, by selling American coal, fast and real cheap, to foreign factories.

If we sacrifice our health, coal industries do not care, but as a nurse and a grandmother, I do care.

Stop these trains, now, please.

Dorethea Simone RN, BSN, Camas

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