Monday, October 31, 2011

Coal: Location, Location, Location - For Whom?

A friend forwarded this draft OpEd, intended to attract sufficient support to be published as some sort of policy statement.

To date, it has not appealed to enough community-minded realtors to gain wide approval. Go figure! For a bunch who trumpet the virtues of location, location, location, one wonders if they really mean it.

Maybe, they had rather take their chances on 'tricking & treating' this Halloween?


Whatcom Real Estate Professionals Against Coal Trains

When people buy a home or locate their business they look for good neighborhoods, strong schools, clean environments, accessible services, healthy local economies and appreciating property values.

They do not seek noise, pollution, traffic and major industry that negatively impacts the single largest investment they are ever likely to make.

As real estate and financial services professionals on the front-line of our local economy, we implicitly understand what makes for a strong quality of life and vibrant economy.

And chief among these is stable employment. Indeed, our very industry and livelihoods

depend on it.

As such, we do not take lightly our opposition to the proposed coal train terminal at Cherry Point.

While the promise of job creation in this struggling economy is very compelling, we are

gravely troubled by the undetermined costs of which our entire community will have to pay for these jobs, estimated at 89 to 213 at various stages of operation.

In addition to the 14 cargo and passenger trains currently running through Whatcom

County, the proposed additional 18 coal trains per day (perhaps more depending on

market demand), each estimated at one and a half miles long, will amount to upwards of

32 trains per day – one approximately every 48 minutes (if evenly spaced).

Excessive noise pollution from train horns and engines, dangerous air pollution from coal

dust and diesel fumes, and stifling traffic and pedestrian delays along our developing

waterfront and downtown Fairhaven will hugely detract from our quality of life, property

values and business opportunities at a time when we can least afford it.

Although a few people will benefit, it is clear to us that this project will be a net negative for the rest of us.

We implore our elected officials, policy makers and candidates for local office to join us

and countless numbers of concerned citizens in courageously standing against coal trains

and a sole source or multi-purpose coal train terminal at Cherry Point.

We simply can’t afford it!


Whatcom Real Estate Professionals Against Coal Trains is comprised of residential and

commercial brokers, mortgage lenders, contractors and affordable housing advocates.