Recently, Burlington Northern's own spokesman admitted to a crowd of concerned Skagit County residents that his company plans to spend no more than 5 percent on any improvements necessary to accommodate the new coal train traffic. He even went on to say that it would be up to the taxpayer to "cough up" 95 percent of the costs of new overpasses, sidings, crossing improvements and maintenance of the rail infrastructure, taking money that could be used elsewhere.
In return, county residents get to subsidize and live with the increased revenue needs, noise, higher train traffic demands, and the health consequences of dirty coal dust passing through the landscape and returning in the form of unseen carbon dioxide in the air and water for all of us to live with its consequences.
We should be asking ourselves, who really benefits from this kind of intrusion into the state and county? Are these the kinds of jobs we want to promote and in sufficient numbers? Since there is no such thing as clean coal, are we willing to pay the price for someone else's dirty coal? When it's all said and done, coal will cost our community in the form of jobs, higher taxes, traffic congestion, and health issues. That's hardly something we need now or long term.