Letters to the Editor

Disputes Mass report on coal dust

Cliff Mass is a respected Northwest meteorologist, who I believe has stumbled with his latest report, funded by the advocacy group Research Now, an opponent of the Gateway Terminal Project.

As a scientist, his findings indicate to me he has done little research into the project itself and some of his (unscientific) data raises eyebrows. For example, his wind data at the BP site notes wind speeds higher than the highest speed ever recorded there. Also, wind and air emissions in Washington state are already subject to strict scrutiny and it’s all available to the public online for free.

The science remains clear on coal dust. On trains especially, three public clean air agencies in Montana and Washington have long studied the issue. Here in Washington state, research included 20 months of real-time monitoring of the rail corridor through Whatcom County by the Northwest Clean Air Agency. Their finding, air quality near the tracks exceeded public health standards. The state Department of Ecology, in its own air emissions inventory survey, said: Trains contributed less than one percent of the state’s total PM2.5 emissions (fine particulate matter) — behind wood stoves (19 percent).

Brad Owens

Bellingham

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