Bozeman-area citizens weigh in on coal export terminal – KTVM TV, Nov. 20, 2012

November 21, 2012

Categories: Coal, News, Northern Plains Resource Council

Follow the link to watch the video:

By Lauren Mascmedt

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Dozens filled seats at the Emerson Center Tuesday evening, hoping their comments would be heard by the Army Corps of Engineers as they study the environmental impact of a Washington terminal.

“The growth of Powder River Basin coal is real, and it’s growing dramatically” said a speaker for Northern Plains Resource Council meeting.

They started off the evening with a presentation about increased coal mining and export, and said the Army Corps of Engineers left Montanans out of the process.

“The Corps has decided that it does not want to include Montana- the impacts to Montana- in the EIS they’re preparing for Cherry Point” the speaker said.

The proposed export terminal is in Cherry Point, Washington, south of the Canadian border. Even though it’s hundreds of miles away from Bozeman, citizens say it’ll have a big impact.

“You cannot discuss the coal port separate, without discussing where the coal comes from and how it gets there” Gardiner resident Richard Parks said.

Locals like Parks said this new port will mean more trains through Montana communities, and they want the Army Corps to study the impact.

“I think that they have a compelling need to look at every community along that railroad track” Belgrade resident Elizabeth Marum said.

Citizens also said they’d like the Corps to look at broader impacts, like any possible climate changes.

Parks said he wants the Corps to consider how those trains will interfere with other train traffic.

“The rail lines are shared by all kinds of traffic- including Montana’s core business agriculture” Parks said. “And the capacity is a real issue.”

In the past, coal advocates have told us that expanding the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would take longer and cost taxpayers more money.

But residents at the Tuesday meeting said they want to see all aspects under consideration.

The Northern Plains Resource Council will send all the comments from the meeting to the Army Corps of Engineers.

And they plan to travel to the closest public hearing in Spokane on December 4th.

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