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Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:57 AM

Besides going to hearings, submit comments on coal trains online and by snail mail

I'm forwarding below a reminder about tomorrow's Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Hearing in Seattle (4-7 pm, rally at 2 pm) regarding the proposed Gateway Pacific (coal) Terminal.

The hearing in Vancouver, Wa. is happening today from from 4-7 pm at the Clark College Gaiser Student Center, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way.

The information about the Seattle hearing and rally is in the forwarded email below.

I strongly encourage you to show up and enter your name in the lottery to deliver a two-minute oral comment to the agencies doing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this proposed project.

I also want to make sure you know that, beyond making a two-minute comment before the agencies, you can submit a separate comment for each concern you have. This is much better than submitting all your concerns in one comment because if you do that, all your concerns will only count as one comment. And the more comments that are submitted, the better.

If you make an oral comment at tomorrow's hearing, you can follow up with as many comments as you want online or by mail, and expand on what you said in your two-minute oral comment.

The deadline for comment submissions is January 21.

Here's the EIS website for submitting comments online: http://www.eisgatewaypacificwa.gov/get-involved/comment

You can also submit comments by regular mail to this address:

GPT/BNSF Custer Spur EIS Co-Lead Agencies
1100 112th Avenue NE, Suite 400
Bellevue, WA 98004

In order for comments to be considered by the agencies doing the EIS, they must include these three elements:
1. Briefly tell the agencies who you are and what you value (eg, I like to walk on the beach with my family).
2. Then tell them which part of the proposed operation threatens that thing that you value - what impact you’re concerned about and why that impact (an oil spill, for example) is significant to you. Then, if you can, expand it and try and show how many other people are impacted, to make it significant. (Significant Adverse Impacts – those go into the system and stay there.)
3. Then ask them to study the risks of that impact happening to what you value as a result of this operation. (Then they need to come up with a way to measure it.)
Note that a “comment” as the agencies define it is not an opinion piece. They're interested in the Significant Adverse Impacts that you want them to study.

One more important point: You may hear the argument that if the coal doesn't go to Cherry Point, it will go to Canada anyway on the same route. Here's the link to a 26-page study done by Communitywise Bellingham that explains why this is not true:


Experts at our scoping hearing prep workshop on Orcas also explained that it’s not true because the capacities won’t come close to 48 million tons, much less 155 tons.

Here are a couple of recommended links:
101 Reasons to be Concerned about Coal Export:

Let's keep coal out of this year's Christmas stockings! :>

With thanks and best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

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Reply Besides going to hearings, submit comments on coal trains online and by snail mail (Original post)
eridani Dec 2012 OP
eridani Dec 2012 #1
eridani Dec 2012 #2
eridani Dec 2012 #3
eridani Jan 2013 #4
eridani Feb 2013 #5
eridani Feb 2013 #6
eridani Feb 2013 #7
eridani Feb 2013 #8
eridani Mar 2013 #9
eridani Mar 2013 #10
eridani Mar 2013 #11
eridani Mar 2013 #12

Response to eridani (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:23 AM

1. Information from impact studies


A proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County could lead to as many as 18 coal trains per day traveling through Seattle, bringing coal mined in Wyoming to the terminal for export to markets in Asia. The Seattle Department of Transportation commissioned Parametrix to study the impact of these trains on traffic and public safety in Seattle.

The study found that daily gate down times at railroad crossing would increase with coal train operations. The increase is dependent on the length of train, how fast it is travelling, and how many daily trains are scheduled.

In 2015, the estimated additional daily gate down time for coal trains could be 31 to 83 minutes. This could represent an increase in daily gate down time of approximately 18% to 49% at Broad Street and 15% to 39% at both Holgate and Lander Street.
In 2026, the estimated additional daily gate down time for coal trains could be approximately 67 to 183 minutes. This could represent an increase in daily gate down of approximately 39% to 108% at Broad Street and 31% to 86% at Holgate and Lander Streets.
In turn, vehicles could be lined up for a longer period of time at railroad crossings. Depending on the time between gate closures, vehicle queues may not fully dissipate before the next gate closing, meaning some drivers would have to wait for multiple trains to pass before being able to cross to the other side of the tracks.

The study also examined impacts to public safety, finding that blockage from the proposed coal trains would impact emergency vehicle trips to and from the waterfront. Blocked train crossings affect response time for fire responses, technical rescue groups, hazardous materials responses, and emergency medical responses where rapid response times are especially important. Delays would not only affect local area responses, but could also affect the ability to send more safety resources from one area of the city to another as needed.

Another finding of the study was that in the past 10 years, trains of all kinds were directly involved in a total of four collisions at Broad Street, Wall Street, and Holgate Street. A total of 127 improper crossings were recorded within a 24-hour period at the Broad Street, South Holgate Street, and South Lander Street crossings alone involving vehicles, bicycles and/or pedestrians. Improper crossings occur when vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians cross the tracks when the red lights start to flash or the railroad gates were down. This type of behavior could increase with more delays and could increase the potential for train collisions with vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists, and blocking incidents.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:29 AM

3. PR firms pushing the coal terminal

Seattle PR firms are doing “coal’s dirty work”:study

Look Who’s Taking Coal Money
The face of the coal industry in the Northwest.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 05:34 AM

4. Another opportunity for comment by 1/11/13

In October, the Tongue River Railroad Company filed a new application for a permit to build a coal-hauling line through the Tongue River Valley. This long-proposed project renews its attempt to cut the valley in half, abusing the power of eminent domain to destroy good Montana ranchland in order to ship Montana coal to China.

The Surface Transportation Board has held “scoping” hearings in rural four southeastern Montana communities, where hundreds of people turned out to oppose the railroad.

However, you still have until January 11 to send your comments. Your comments are very important, because this is your opportunity to list all your concerns that the new environmental impact statement (EIS) should address.

You can send in your comments online today using the following link: http://www.stb.dot.gov/Ect1/ecorrespondence.nsf/incoming?OpenForm.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 09:11 AM

5. Pierce County organizes


Saying "No" to Coal Trains in Pierce County: A Personal Report on Progress

SSA Marine plans to build a port terminal along the Straight of Georgia in Washington State to receive coal transported from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming for transshipment on to Asia. This coal would travel by train through Sumner, Puyallup, and Tacoma. Worried by the potential for damage to our environment and our health a group of Pierce County residents met on Jan. 24, 2013 to start organizing to fight the coal trains. We discussed plans to prevent the construction of the Gateway Pacific Coal Export Terminal at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham. We made a list of potential allies, formed work committees, touched on future events and enjoyed Trackside Pizza. The noise of the passing trains occasionally drowned out our voices.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:01 AM

6. Town Hall program on coal trains 2/13 in Seattle


EarthFix: Exploring the Powder River Basin Coal-Train Proposals
Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:30 – 9:00pm

Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue. $5.

As American coal companies look to the Northwest as the fastest route to get their product from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to Asian markets, five ports in Washington and Oregon are considering coal-export terminals—and folks in both states are considering the potential impacts. The largest of the five proposed coal-export sites, the Gateway Pacific Terminal, could be built north of Bellingham, which would mean up to 18 more trains passing through Seattle and other communities along the coast. And that, says a recent report from the Seattle Department of Transportation, could add 50 percent more time to drivers’ waits at Seattle’s railroad crossings, and could affect emergency-vehicle trips to and from the waterfront. As the project undergoes its environmental review, KUOW environment reporter Ashley Ahearn moderates a panel discussion designed to answer questions about coal exports, explore what happens next—and explain what all the fuss is about. Panelists include Jeremiah Julius of the Lummi Indian Business Council; Bob Watters, senior vice president/director of business development at SSA Marine; Mike Elliott, chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; Kimberly Larson, communications and marketing director of Climate Solutions/Power Past Coal; and law advisor Sanne Knudsen, assistant professor at the University of Washington’s School of Law. Presented as part of the Town Hall Civics series with EarthFix, KUOW, and KCTS9. Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, The Stranger, and the True/Brown Foundation.

Tickets are $5 at www.townhallseattle.org or 888/377-4510 and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating. Great Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:18 AM

7. Many local solidarity rallies on 2/17

This past weekend we emailed you about a Forward on Climate solidarity rally in Seattle. But it turns out we were only scratching the surface -- there are actually tons of opportunities for Washingtonians to show their support!

Tens of thousands of people will converge in Washington, DC for the largest action against climate change in US history this Sunday, but we understand that not everyone can make the trip.

In fact, there’s important work to be done all across the country -- from divesting our schools and cities from fossil fuels, to keeping the pressure on politicians who want to build Keystone XL no matter what Obama says.

That’s why there are many solidarity actions being organized in your area on the 17th, and we hope you can join one (or more!). Here's one more in Seattle we think you might like:

WHEN: Sunday, February 17th, 8:30 - 10:30am
WHERE: University of Washington, at the George Washington statue near Red Square, Meany Hall, Henry Art Gallery, and Odegaard Library on 15th Ave. NE
WHAT: Tar Sands Teach-In/Teach-Out starts with coffee and breakfast snacks at 8:30. There will be a participatory rally format starting at 9:00 AM including seeing Climate Ride cyclists off for Golden Gardens at 9:30. Co-Sponsored by Tar Sands Action Seattle, 350 Washington State and Forest Ethics.

Click here for more info on this event and many others: tarsandsactionseattle.org/

Also, the rally in DC will have a big screen where we’ll be displaying photos from solidarity actions around the country -- so even though you may not be there in person, you’ll be able to make an appearance.

Solidarity events like these are important for connecting the dots on a nation-wide climate movement united against KXL. We look forward to seeing you in the streets, be they in DC or otherwise!

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Response to eridani (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:59 PM

8. Also Olympia and Spokane

ALL on SUNDAY, Feb. 17
Heritage Park
3:00 p.m.

Golden Gardens Park
8498 Seaview Pl. NW
11:30 a.m.

Riverfront Park- Rotary Fountain
1:00 p.m.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 07:20 AM

9. Support Canadian environmental activists 3/17 at the border

Your support will be critical to help stop proposed coal exports in BC. Join us this Sunday, March 17 at 12:00 noon at Semiahmoo Park in Blaine for a cross-border demonstration against coal to support the activists in Canada fighting coal ports proposed there.

Currently, there is a proposal to build a coal terminal in Surrey, British Columbia, just south of Vancouver. If this terminal was to be built, we would see up to 10 coal trains a day moving through Washington to ports in Canada.

British Columbians believe we can do better than coal. Already, the cities of White Rock, Delta, Surrey, New Westminster and Vancouver have all expressed concern with the coal export proposals. We have the opportunity to join them on Sunday at noon, when they'll be standing up to the dangers of coal export on the Canadian side of Boundary Bay in White Rock.

Join us to remind the people of British Columbia that they're not alone in this fight and that together we can do better.

See you this weekend,

Matt Petryni
Campaign Organizer

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
2309 Meridian Street
Bellingham, Washington 98225
360.733.8307 (office)

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 06:23 AM

10. Coal terminal enabling bill went down in the state Senate

Great news! After more than 500 CREDO activists in Washington called their state senator in recent weeks, the Washington Senate has declined to hold a vote on Senate Bill 5805, which would have paved the way for dirty coal export terminals to be approved.

Just a few weeks ago a vote seemed imminent, but once lawmakers realized how much grassroots opposition there is to fast-tracking coal export terminals, they backed down.

Earlier this week, a key deadline for holding a vote on SB 5805 passed, making it extremely unlikely that the bill will move forward. If there is an attempt to bring the bill back to life, we'll be sure to let you know how you can fight to stop it.

We've still got a lot of work to do to make sure the coal industry doesn't succeed in its effort to turn Washington into a massive hub for shipping dirty coal to Asia, and we'll be in touch soon with other ways you can get involved in the fight.

Thank you for your activism — it makes a difference.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2013, 04:35 AM

11. Inslee-Kitzhaber letter


As the major owner of coal reserves in the Western U.S., the federal government must consider whether it has appropriately priced the coal leases that it continues to grant, including the practice of granting non-competitive leases," Inslee and Kitzhaber write. "These issues raise significant concerns that we are subsidizing the export of coal at the same time we are winding down domestic consumption due to serious environmental and health concerns."

The debate is bipartisan. Are sweetheart deals bleeding taxpayers? In the Pacific Northwest, the lens is narrower, specifically how to "mitigate" for 18 more trains a day from the Powder River Basin to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal near Bellingham. How will this affect families and commuters in Marysville, Edmonds and beyond?

The remarkable aspect about the Inslee-Kitzhaber letter is its frankness, insisting that the CEQ undertake a thorough review of the greenhouse gas and air-quality impacts of coal leasing before "the U.S. and its partners make irretrievable long-term investments in expanding this trade."

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2013, 11:41 PM

12. Coal train in Montana derailed

And we want 20 times as much of this because why?


Three cars on a Montana Rail Link train derailed in Missoula with one of the coal cars spilling some of its contents.

MRL spokeswoman Lynda Frost tells the Missoulian ( http://bit.ly/XLR53U) the train cars derailed about midnight Monday. Frost says one car was upright, one was tilted and one tipped on its side.

No one was injured. The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

Frost expected the derailment to be cleaned up by Tuesday evening.

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