Letter: Coal trains must be opposed



Like many Vancouverites, I have serious concerns about the costs that coal bound for export to Asia via train would incur on our community.

Coal-export proposals could bring 27 or more noisy, coal dust- and diesel-polluting, mile-and-a-half-long trains through Vancouver every day. As president of the Riverview Neighborhood Association, I know that, for my neighborhood and others, this means pollution, and delays for commuters and emergency vehicles in our area.

As seen recently, coal trains derail with devastating results. Just this month, three coal trains derailed, causing fatalities and toxic messes. These risks could easily translate into property devaluation, and hits to real estate and development.

Rail-traffic increase is often necessary for economic growth, but coal bound for Asia on local railways, with taxpayers possibly footing the bill for rail upgrades, do not yield net economic growth for Washington, and especially not for Vancouver. It establishes us as a poorly paid middle man.

The Vancouver City Council is protecting our interests and considering a resolution calling for a study of the cumulative impacts of coal trains on Vancouver. This will help us know the true net economic, health and environmental impacts of the proposed increase of coal trains through Vancouver.

Paul Schwabe