To read the guest opinion in today's Spokesman Review, you'd think that coal trains are relatively harmless and are the next best thing to Christmas.
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from Fish & Bicycles
This brings us to the subject of coal trains, which have long been traveling through Spokane. World demand for energy sources is resulting in planned transport of coal on BNSF trains from the Wyoming and Montana coal fields through Spokane to proposed port facilities on the Oregon and Washington coasts. The Washington facilities would bring much-needed jobs to our state and would promote international trade, the latter of which has had a positive impact on our nation’s trade balance.
Greater Spokane Incorporated supports federally regulated interstate commerce and international trade, and is a member of the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports. The Alliance supports the construction of the Gateway Pacific Terminal, which will be undergoing an environmental impact study that – when finalized – will have incorporated all public and agency comments and proposed mitigation. The Gateway Pacific Terminal would create an estimated 3,500 to 4,400 new jobs during construction, and 300-400 permanent family wage jobs that will generate an estimated $74 million to $92 million in state and local revenues.
Along with the contribution that burning the coal will make towards accelerating climate change, the concern in Spokane is about people being exposed to the increased amount of diesel exhaust and coal dust from sixty 1 to 1-1/2 mile-long trains each day. Last June, the city council passed a resolution expressing their concern and asking that one of the environmental impact hearings be held here. As it happens, a hearing is being held this Tuesday from 4-7 pm, at the Spokane County Fairgrounds Plaza.
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