Missoula City Council supports study of coal trains' effects
The resolution calls on the Corps of Engineers to conduct a “programmatic environmental impact statement” on the cumulative effects of air pollutants, traffic delays, coal dust, and noise pollution. It also calls for a public hearing in Missoula.
Everyone who breathes will be at risk in Missoula if all the planned coal terminals on the Pacific Coast get built out – and coal train traffic here skyrockets, one doctor said Monday.
“It is a fact that putting that much particulate from coal into our airshed will dramatically increase the diagnoses of asthma, pneumonia, lung and sinus infection, allergies, emphysema, (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and cancer – lung, esophageal and stomach – and cardiovascular diseases as well,” said Amy Haynes, a Missoula physician who offered prepared remarks at a Missoula City Council meeting. “We know this. Medical research supports this as a fact.”
Haynes was among many members of the public speaking in support of a resolution calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the cumulative and local environmental effects of multiple proposed coal export terminals on the Pacific Coast. The council approved the resolution on a 6-3 vote with one abstention and two councilors absent.
“The state of Montana has a long history of being treated and seen as a colony by large corporate interests ... oftentimes leaving us with a mess to clean up for years and sometimes decades to come,” said Councilman Dave Strohmaier, who proposed the resolution.
The measure notes that proposed export terminals in Oregon and Washington have the capacity to handle 150 million tons of coal a year, and that means as many as 60 more trains a day running through Missoula from mines in the Powder River Basin.
Similar to legislation drawn up in other rail line communities, the resolution calls on the Corps of Engineers to conduct a “programmatic environmental impact statement” on the cumulative effects of air pollutants, traffic delays, coal dust, and noise pollution. It also calls for a public hearing in Missoula.