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January 1, 2013 at 6:00 AM

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Coal export terminal plans raise protests

Prevent local problems with global consequences
On Dec. 13, a public hearing was held to address a proposal for the export of coal from the Powder River Basin to China through the Pacific Northwest [“Protests precede hearing on coal export terminal,” news, Dec. 13]. Over 48 million tons of coal would be shipped out of Washington state annually. The economic and environmental costs of the project far outweigh any benefits of the project.

The transport of that immense amount of coal will create problems with traffic and noise, putting a strain on businesses located nearby. At full operation, the cities of the Puget Sound would experience nine 1.5-mile long coal trains passing through their downtown areas every day. Washington inhabitants will have to pay for infrastructure repair, deal with the loss of natural habitats and learn how to breathe coal dust in downtown areas.

It is by now fairly common knowledge that coal is one of the dirtiest forms of energy we use. Coal puts twice the amount of carbon into the atmosphere as natural gas. After a year of uncontrollable wildfires, massive droughts, and devastating hurricanes, it is time to act against the coal export proposal to prevent local problems with global consequences.

—Alexandra Perkins, Seattle

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