A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Coal trains and Albany, continued

Written March 24th, 2013 by
This is not a coal train, and Albany is unlikely to see any.

This is not a coal train, and Albany is unlikely to see any.

Egads! Coal trains though Albany? What a horrible prospect! That’s the sentiment of a group that managed to get a proposed resolution against coal trains on the Albany City Council’s agenda for Wednesday night. It is part of the campaign to stop the use of coal worldwide in the interest of slowing down global warming.

The Albany resolution worries about long trains, longer delays at crossings, coal dust pollution near the rail line, water seeping from the cars, derailments, more air pollution from Asia drifting our way if the coal is burned there — and of course, the main cause, more global warming.

Never mind that coal trains have traveled through Washington state for years without reported complaints, that long trains hold up traffic no matter what they carry, that anything to help the railroads make money is good for the economy and our transportation system, and that the pace of climate change is unaffected by American coal exports as long as Asian utilities get coal from somewhere, which they do now and will continue to do. Also, never mind that no coal trains are likely to pass through Albany as, according to the papers, the plan to develop Coos Bay as an export terminal would cost hundreds of millions and has lost two main investors.

If the Albany council has a burning issue, the transport of coal by train isn’t it. (hh)

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