Monday, December 3, 2012

Area to experience increased coal train traffic

Its been reported that our area here in Eastern Washington is one of the places in Washington likely to see significantly increased coal train traffic (Tri-City Herald, Sunday, 12/2/2012). No one’s showing much interest here. Public officials are said not to be too worried about delays at railroad crossings. “The frustration of the average motorist might be a little higher,” one official said.

Coal is the world’s dirtiest energy source. It’s dirty to mine, to transport (check out the video), to burn, and to dispose of. Burning coal is adding millions of tons of greenhouse gases (GHG), the primary driver of global warming, to the Earth’s atmosphere. And we’re talking about delays at railroad crossings?!

Doc Hastings (R-WA4), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee promoted a “Stop the War on Coal” bill that recently passed the House. It would block the EPA’s ability to regulate GHG emissions from power plants and other sources, prevent rules on the storage and disposal of coal ash, and limit Clean Water Act rules. Fortunately, the bill has no chance in the Senate.

Republicans have argued that as long as China is building new coal-fired plants, why should the US take “unilateral” action to reduce GHG emissions. Want to guess where we’re exporting all that coal transiting the Tri-Cities?
Coal terminal on the Columbia River (from Columbia Riverkeeper)

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