Impacts of local coal train travel is forum topic

Event is set for tonight, in Vancouver

By Heather Acheson, Columbian staff writer

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The impacts of coal export trains traveling through local communities will be the topic of discussion during an upcoming forum.

The “Power Past Coal Coalition,” is presenting the event today, at 7 p.m., at First Congregational Church in Vancouver.

Among the speakers will be Camas residents Warren Shoemaker, a clean energy project developer, and Rick Marshall, a local developer as well as a volunteer from the Southwest Washington Sierra Club Beyond Coal Task Force.

According to a press release, coal export terminals proposed in Cherry Point, Gray’s Harbor and Longview, Wash., could draw 20 or more coal trains through communities in Clark County, including Camas and Vancouver. Each uncovered coal train would be more than 1.5 miles long.

In a recent e-mail to the Post-Record, Marshall said he has many concerns about the coal trains, ranging from pollution to property devaluation, and traffic impacts.

“Naturally, we have a direct personal economic interest in this issue. We can’t afford for outside interests to further hurt our property values,” he said. “But we are also very concerned about the adverse health affects of coal dust on our communities.”

The Power Past Coal Coalition is a group of more than 50 organizations, including the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions, and Columbia Riverkeeper, working to prevent the West Coast from becoming a high volume coal corridor.

“The more cheap coal that is sent to China, the more they will burn and the longer it will take them to transition to renewable energy sources,” Marshall said.

First Congregational Church is located at 1220 N.E. 68th Ave.

For more information, visit www.powerpastcoal.org.