A former business associate of mine who returned from China a few days ago informed me that his visit "has been surreal .... China is just impossibly polluted. It's worse every time we go there. Shanghai and Beijing were terrible. The government-sponsored paper (in Tianjin) had an article saying that yes, the pollution was bad, but it would take about 20 years to fix the problem, and in the meantime, people should drive less and avoid outdoor barbecue pits. Yikes. Barbecues? What about the coal-fired electric plants and the proliferation of cars that means nonstop traffic jams in every major city?"
Considering China's failure to control its severe air pollution problems, I believe the residents of Bellingham should refuse to allow any expansion of coal trains passing through our city (carrying coal destined for China). Those who claim more coal trains will increase jobs and stimulate the local economy are short-sighted, and ignore the detrimental impact such activity would have on the very thing that makes Bellingham such a beautiful city to visit and in which to live: its quality of life.
Instead of more coal trains, we should focus instead on expediting the development of our waterfront area, which has such tremendous potential. The resulting long-term stimulus to our economy would greatly exceed any short-term benefits that coal trains might bring.