Letter: Specifics, please, on coal exports



Matthew Rose was correct, acknowledging, “We owe you as a community more information” (“BNSF Railway CEO sounds off on coal-export debate,” The Columbian online, Aug. 23). It is disingenuous for Rose to make this admission while he promotes a coal industry front group, The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, attempting to persuade citizens that proposed coal export projects will bring benefits rather than headaches for communities.

Visiting Washington, Rose downplayed concerns raised by city after city about potential coal export impacts. Rose’s comments follow a familiar pattern: Downplay the number of coal trains, offer possible solutions that may or may not be feasible or utilized once terminals are operating, and disparage requests for a comprehensive environmental review process.

Rose is long on assurances but short on verifiable details. It’s time for BNSF to provide affected communities and stakeholders with specifics about volumes, routes, impacts and proposed mitigation. It’s time for coal industry proponents to tell the truth instead of giving empty promises and worthless assurances.

Rose joins other industry proponents in dismissing serious environmental review as a delay tactic. He avoids the climate change impact question, saying he is not “qualified” to comment. As citizens, we have to live (or die) with these impacts. Such avoidance is not acceptable.

Cathryn Chudy