Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
The Times calls for environmental reviews for coal-train plans
Harmful for the environment and economy
Putting aside the harmful effects on the environment, there are negative economic effects that have not been discussed regarding the prospect of building large coal-export terminals in Washington [“Coal trains, terminals need comprehensive environmental reviews,” Editorials, Oct. 3].
Although there will be job creation, the number of permanent jobs created by the Cherry Point terminal will only be 430 according to the application submitted by SSA Marine - 213 shift, 44 administrative, 66 railroad, and 107 marine-service workers. This number is insignificant when one considers the impact of transporting 45-50 million tons of coal, through a rail corridor that is already the busiest in Washington state. It is congested now with many freight trains parked daily on the tracks.
The negative economic impact is that the state and local government will bear the burden of paying for improvements in infrastructure to relieve congestion, not the profiting railroad or coal companies.
Since the rail line along Puget Sound is currently at capacity, an increase in rail traffic will cause our Washington state agricultural exporters to experience a deterioration of rail service – longer transit times and higher freight rates.Our state taxpayers and exporting industries will bear a significant economic burden if huge coal terminals are built. Is it worth it for so few permanent jobs in our state?
–Robyn Ingham-Ali, Edmonds