The demand for coal in this country is declining and U.S. coal companies want to sell their coal to Asia to compensate for this. To reach a port, maybe Longview, from mines in Wyoming and Montana, the coal would be shipped by rail through Spokane, go south, then along the Columbia River to Vancouver, and finally north to a port. The proposal is for 20-plus trainloads of coal daily, each over a mile long, to pass through our communities. There are some potentially negative effects from this volume of rail traffic -- traffic congestion, pollution from cars idling at railroad crossings, difficulties reaching local businesses, blowing coal dust, etc. These could lead to decreased real estate values just as we are emerging from a terrible recession, health issues, and considerable inconvenience to local residents.
The city councils of both Camas and Washougal have passed resolutions requesting that the impacts on our communities be included in the assessment of this project, and that at least one of the hearings about it be held locally. This seems to me to be a very wise step and will give us valuable information about the implications of this proposal. My sincere thanks goes out to these city councils for their wise and farsighted actions.