If the plan to build the Gateway Pacific Terminal deep-water port facility at Cherry Point near Bellingham is approved this will be the new reality. Passing through Seattle each day will be up to 18 trains, 1 1/2 miles long, with four locomotives pulling open cars full of coal, on their way to Cherry Point.

Both the means of transporting coal and the coal itself will dramatically affect Seattle air quality. Railroad locomotives, which rely on diesel fuel, emit nitrogen oxide (NOx) and coarse and small particles into the air. Diesel particulates permeate within a 3-mile radius of the track before dissipating.

Coal dust blowing from coal trains contributes particulate matter to the air. BNSF [Railway] itself admits that up to 3 percent of coal can escape, which is 500 to 2,000 pounds of coal dust for each train car.

As the trains pass by the piers below Downtown Seattle and the winds blow off the sound, the diesel fumes and dust would be carried through the downtown area.

As the trains pass through Interbay, right by my house, this pollution would drift to both the west of Queen Anne and east side of Magnolia.

Now is the time to let your voice be heard and stop this insane plan. Attend the upcoming hearing (and even the rally beforehand starting at 2 pm). See you there: 4 to 7 p.m. [on] Thursday, Dec. 13, [at the] Washington State Convention & Trade Center, Ballroom 6F, 800 Convention Place.

If you can’t attend the meeting, mailed comments can be sent to GPT/BNSF Custer Spur, EIS Co-Lead Agencies, c/o CH2M Hill, 1100 112th Ave. N.E., Suite 400, Bellevue, WA 98004. (Comments must be received before Jan. 21.)
Leonard Rodenberg