Letter: Dust must exist to be a problem



Dianne Kocer’s Sept. 18 letter, “Speak out at hearings on coal,” piqued my interest. There has been considerable attention devoted to the transport and eventual export of coal through the Columbia River Gorge and the many cities between mine and its eventual export from Longview. I have witnessed fully loaded coal trains in nearly every type of weather condition. In particular, the wind can be very strong at this location as the “entrance” to the Gorge.

Kocer writes about “the proposed 18 or more trains per day,” guaranteeing that winter rains will wash the heavy metal from coal dust into the Columbia River. Brush Prairie, where Kocer lives, is miles away from the trains that carry this lethal cargo. Standing at the entrance to my driveway puts me about 60 feet from the BNSF tracks. I have looked around the tracks, especially during a windy day after a coal train has rolled through, and have yet to see any coal dust accumulation. I even used a 10-power jeweler’s loop, taking it to a ridiculous end, but it demonstrated that coal dust, in any accumulation, was not visible around this “representative” site in Washougal.

I, too, urge people to attend the hearing Oct. 9 at the Clark County Fairgrounds. Be prepared to deal in facts, not alarmist partial truths.

Grant C. Johnson