Sunday, December 9, 2012

Coal: GPT EIS Comment No. 31

Concerns Based on Reality

Several recent events and actions lend credence to concerns by citizens, including these:
• The coal conveyor & access damage at the nearby Westshore Coal Terminal in BC resulting from a late night collision by a large Bulk Carrier vessel with a pilot on board.
• The railroad bridge collapse south of Bellingham on the BNSF main line used by heavy coal trains.
• The derailment of a coal train east of Tri-Cities, spilling 34 loaded cars.
• The protracted delays of traffic in Skagit County due to a stalled coal train with brake problems.
• The unseemly acts by the GPT Applicant to recruit allies to pack public meetings designed to gather citizen concerns.
• The repeated dismissals of legitimately expressed citizen concerns as only NIMBYism by GPT spokespersons.
• The ongoing media advertising campaign designed to influence public opinion during the 120-day EIS Scoping period, which advocates multiple coal terminals -not just GPT- which seems like a concerted effort on behalf of an entire industry. Doesn't that justify a programmatic EIS approach is necessary?

There is likely available statistical information on the frequency and severity of both large bulk vessel and coal train accidents. I request that this information be researched and applied to the rail and marine traffic projected by the Applicant for GPT.
Additionally, the costs to the natural environment, existing businesses, residents, governments services and facilities need to be ascertained for inclusion into the EIS evaluation.
A programmatic EIS appears necessary to include all of the possible impacts, whether to the GPT site or anywhere along the proposed transport routes.
It would also include impacts to the atmosphere, the oceans and inland waterways, the land, human health and impacts to each ecosystem likely to be affected over time.