Coal trains will benefit jobs, economy
I’ve spent 13 years at BNSF Railway, working on trains as conductor and engineer. I’ve dealt with a lot of manufactured products traveling on our trains. However, I’ve never had to deal with a manufactured issue until the recent conversation about coal dust.
This is a new issue for the Pacific Northwest, one that was nonexistent before coal export terminals were proposed for the region. But trains carrying coal have been traveling through the Northwest for decades, and I’ve worked on them directly. Whether they’re carrying coal to the power plant in Centralia, or north to coal export terminals in Canada, they’re a regular part of our railroad system.
Until the terminals were proposed in the Pacific Northwest, clean-air agencies in the region had not received a single complaint about coal dust. Among workers like me, who are in contact with trains carrying coal day in and day out — even loading and unloading them — there have not been complaints on this issue. People against these export terminals ignore all this, and claim coal dust from trains will be an issue in the Pacific Northwest. Among the people I work with, we’re truthfully outraged by these claims.
We work on trains every day, including those that carry coal. Those attempting to make this an issue are nowhere close to our knowledge of rail issues.
I’ve talked to many of my colleagues about this, and we believe these terminal opponents are trying to score points for a different cause. They aren’t interested in representing this issue accurately.