There may be reason for concern for the consequences of increased coal train shipments through our area, but coal dust isn’t one of them. Several letters recently speak of the danger of being buried in coal dust if these trains are allowed to traverse local rail systems.
One popular figure, quoted from the Internet of course, is that trains drop 200 pounds of dust per mile. Wyoming has been shipping coal for over 100 years, so if this figure is correct, Wyoming should be buried in coal dust. The main railroad travels within a few hundred feet of Interstate 80 across the entire state. Take a trip across this fair state and you’ll see nothing except clean sage, shiny rail and bare cross ties. Where is the coal dust?
While coal dust can be toxic, black lung is most commonly associated with underground mining tactics used during the past early century. Due to modern techniques, it is no longer associated with open pit mining, and especially not in cities and towns where coal trains pass daily.
Take a trip through Wyoming and make your own conclusions. Anybody can write whatever they like on the Internet.
Unfortunately, there are those who will believe anything as long as it fits with their viewpoint.
Darrell E. Spilde