Letters to the Editor for March 13, 2012

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Keep Camas-Washougal lovely

I’ve heard lots lately about the additional trainloads of coal slated to pass through the Camas-Washougal area soon.

Blowing coal dust is a dangerous by-product of this transit and it sounds as though BNSF is planning to mitigate its effects by spraying the coal with a “topper” agent. This agent has been of dubious value when used in Australia. I hope it works here, and I hope that someone will also address the huge amount of diesel pollution produced by an additional 20-plus trains per day as well as the tail-pipe emissions from cars waiting for trains that are over a mile long.

Trains are noisy, can be dangerous, and will lower our property values just as we are struggling to emerge from this terrible recession. I don’t think they will raise the quality of life here or bring us any jobs. In addition, coal trains might discourage new business from locating here because of the projected traffic congestion, and this congestion might harm established businesses.

This proposal is not in our area’s or Southwest Washington’s best interests by any measure. Camas and Washougal are lovely places to live; let’s keep them that way.

Diana Gordon, Washougal

Help protect the Camas community

We would like to commend Camas Mayor Scott Higgins and the City Council for their continued support of the growth and vibrancy of downtown businesses and for ensuring a high quality of life for the residents of Camas.

As downtown business and building owners, we have serious concerns about the impacts of having 20 or more additional coal trains pass through our community daily. The train noise, which is already disruptive, would become considerably worse. Camas Hotel guests and other downtown residents already complain about the nightly train whistle noise.

We are concerned about the impact the trains will have on Camas businesses and the value of homes. Coal trains could deal a deadly blow to our local economy by driving away business and diminishing the property values of homes and downtown businesses.

We are also concerned for our health, as our air is threatened by toxic coal dust and diesel pollution. People in Camas have fought hard to secure clean air through state-of-the-art smokestacks at Georgia Pacific Mill because air quality is important to our community.

This is why we want to thank the Camas City Council for passing a resolution expressing concern about the impacts of coal trains on our community, requesting that Camas be included in the scope of an environmental review, and for public hearings to be conducted locally.

What we’ve done in Camas, can be done elsewhere in Clark County and throughout the region. We hope that fellow citizens, business leaders and elected officials will continue to work together to protect our communities.

Tom & Karen Hall, The Camas Hotel & Oliver’s

JoAnn Taylor, Camas Antiques