Maybe it is “good news” for Bellingham that a rail siding through downtown is allegedly not the plan. But even if BNSF is being honest (they haven’t exactly been forthcoming or transparent with details thus far), it still falls utterly short of addressing the many other concerns. There would still be 18 more trains running through the area daily. I liked trains a lot as a kid, too, but that’s an awful, awful lot of trains, and the absence of a downtown siding doesn’t change that. It’s like telling someone you’ve decided not to cut off their left pinkie along with the other nine fingers.
There are still significant traffic and congestion issues, but also public health and environmental impacts from the extensive extraction, transport and combustion of what is simply the dirtiest form of energy on Earth, higher risk of accidents, the ecological impact of the terminal expansion itself, threats to Lummi and other Coast Salish people’s cultural and material resources, endangerment of local waterways, etc. All, I believe, for relatively few local gains.
Yes, it would create a handful of jobs, but not many local jobs, which could easily be offset by similar commitments to any number of safer technologies. Yes, there’s significant profit to be made, but don’t be fooled into thinking those profits will stay in Whatcom County.
Siding or no siding, this is still a very bad deal for Whatcom.