Letter: Tongue River Railroad: Train increase threatens health – Missoulian, Sept. 6, 2015

September 8, 2015

Categories: Coal, News


Last April the Surface Transportation Board issued a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Tongue River Railroad. If built, this railroad would send between up to 26 additional coal trains through Montana towns every day, at about 100 cars each.

Even without coal dust, smoke and frequent air inversions can cause hazardous particulate levels for sensitive groups. Children and people with asthma in our community already have enough trouble making it through the fire season. Is the public health risk worth one company shipping coal to China? (And once burned there, the smoke comes back to settle on our snowpack!) Where’s the democracy here?

Many of our schools are within a mile of the railroad. This increase in coal train traffic would be accompanied by an increase in both coal dust and diesel emissions. This is a huge health risk for the children in our community. This also adds troubling obstacles to kids (and parents) getting them to and from school on time safely.

When my niece is late to school due to a single train, she gets punished, mom’s late for work and everyone, including the school administration, loses. Multiply that by the school population and everyone else for whom lateness is an issue, and we’ve a serious community problem!

There are just short of three weeks left to comment on the EIS. Visit alturl.com/yj9sj by Sept. 23, and tell the STB that the profit of a private company is not worth the health of our children. Thank you.

Tim Holmes,


220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154