I commend the Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County for their recent decision to consider the vast number of threats relating to potential coal exporting from the Pacific Northwest. I hope they understand where the majority of our residents' values stand when it comes to clean air and water over temporary jobs and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. I believe it is sensible to review impacts of the rail and vessel traffic as well as coal's contribution to greenhouse gases and climate change. It doesn't matter who burns this coal, the impact is the same to our air, water and health. Consider the number of unsurveyed, undocumented mine shafts under Bellingham that could potentially collapse and catch fire due to the weight and volume of trains carrying coal. This occurred in the past on Northwest Avenue and the fires burned for weeks.
Whether we intentionally choose to impact greenhouse gas emissions by supporting coal extraction, rail and vessel traffic and burning of coal anywhere in the world is indeed the gravest decision our state and local communities have to make. Selling hundreds of millions of tons of coal to Asia negates any prospects for our region to lead in a clean energy economy. Consider how home values will decrease with transporting coal, I believe safety will be a huge concern and expense and everywhere the trains travel the riparian zones and critical habitats will be adversely affected.