Coal clash: Multnomah County to examine health hazards from coal dust and diesel

The Oregonian, September 10, 2012
By Scott Learn

      Scott Learn, The Oregonian
A coal train in Wyoming’s section of the Powder River Basin

Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen is directing the county health department to review potential health hazards from coal trains that may run through the county en route to new Northwest export terminals.

Cogen’s request, to be formally announced today, focuses on diesel emissions from locomotives and coal dust from uncovered coal cars. He also wants the emergency management office to study potential delays in emergency response from mile–plus trains.

Activists have asked federal regulators for an independent health review and Gov. John Kitzhaber for a state health department review, to no avail thus far.

“There’s been a lot of talk about this on regional, state and national level, but I think it’s time for the local level to step up so we can understand how concerned we should be,” said Cogen, also chair of the county’s board of health.

Three of the five coal export terminals proposed in Oregon and Washington are likely to route coal trains through Multnomah County, as many as 32 a day — half of them full, half empty. Those three terminals, one in Coos Bay and two along the Columbia River, would ship coal from Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to Asia for electricity generation.

Read more …

About coalfreegorge

Coal is rearing its head again the Columbia Gorge. The new threat comes in the form of proposals to export coal from Wyoming to coal-fired power plants in China. The coal would be transported via uncovered rail cars through the Columbia Gorge. Many Columbia Gorge Communities in Oregon and Washington support a coal-free world, beginning at home, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, recognizing the importance of people determining what materials are allowable for transport through their communities and watersheds. This blog exists to communicate and advocate for the public interest in issues pertaining to coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, providing an online outlet for honest discussion and information. To inform and unite local citizens about the damaging effects of coal transport through our communities. To endorse positive and considerate dialogue with the aim of mutual understanding among diverse parties. CLEAN AIR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES NO COAL EXPORTS STOP COAL IN ITS TRACKS
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