To those of you who write that you have never seen any coal dust coming from the trains and consider this to be an "irrational fear," I have some factual news for you: At a rail crossing near Larrabee Park, I have personally seen a layer of black powder about 3-4 inches wide running on either side of the tracks, extending as far as I could see in both directions. I wish I had taken a picture or a sample of it, because in May, BNSF came and spent two noisy days vacuuming it all up. The black powder I saw could only have been coal dust. Logic tells me that there was even more coal dust coming from the trains earlier down the line. More than 170 Whatcom doctors, after reviewing the scientific literature, publicly warned us about the health hazards of breathing coal dust. So why doesn't BNSF just cover these containers and make this a non-issue? Perhaps they can't, because Powder River Basin coal, which is what will be shipped and stored at the terminal, has an unusually high level of spontaneous combustion, documented by the coal industry.
These are serious issues, along with diesel particulates, noise levels, restricted access for emergency vehicles for fires, heart attacks, etc. I, for one, do not believe that a few permanent "good jobs" are worth these risks to our health and safety, not to mention the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere when China begins burning all this coal.