Thursday, July 12, 2012

Conservationists Warn Of Northwest Coal Train Impact to Region

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 9:17 AM

A regional conservation group wants to bring greater attention to a looming problem of coal train activity—something that Boise Weekly readers know all too well.

In February, BW's Zach Hagadone reported on plans that could result in approximately 60 coal trains per day passing through the cities of Billings and Spokane and crossing Idaho's panhandle. On Wednesday, the Western Organization of Resource Councils unveiled a report that indicated that the coal trains could tie up rail lines, cause environmental problems and push the bill for costly rail-crossing improvements to local governments.

The Associated Press reports that the trains would run from Montana, through Idaho to deep water ports in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

"Make no mistake about it, this is a huge, huge increase in volume like we've never seen before in this part of the world," Terry Whiteside, one of the report's authors, told the AP.

In February's report, BW's Hagadone chronicled how 500 pounds of coal and coal dust can blow off a coal train, more than 30 tons per train per trip.

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