The right choice on coal

I’m glad to see Grays Harbor embrace a better path than a coal export terminal. A coal terminal would endanger natural-resource dependent industries, local economies and the health of our citizens.

We can do better than prolong and encourage the use of this filthy fossil fuel, and it’s good to hear that RailAmerica agrees.

If we export dirty coal, we import dirty air. Toxic coal dust that falls off trains would pollute air and water and worsen asthma, respiratory illness and other health problems. Massive coal trains could snarl traffic, cut towns in half, and delay emergency services like police and fire. Dirty coal trains diminish property values, and hurt farms and small businesses.

This victory marks a milestone for the coalition of health groups, conservationists and others concerned about impacts of shipping millions of tons of coal to Asia.

For people to understand the impacts on their communities from the remaining proposals, the Corps of Engineers needs to do a full analysis of the combined impacts of all those proposals.

Gary Lewis, a senior vice president at RailAmerica, stated on the decision to abandon the project, “… we believe there are other uses and other opportunities for that terminal that are much more likely to generate jobs, economic development, tax revenues, and provide a general increase in business.”

There are still five other proposals in the region. Those investors should look closely at Grays Harbor, and like RailAmerica, realize they too can do better than become coal export terminals.

Steve Robinson