By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City Herald
Sierra Club sues Burlington Northern Santa Fe over coal dust in waterwaysThis is the same pollution of coal dust blowing into Northwest rivers and Puget Sound the train tracks follow as their preferred routes that I made the subject of my first public comment to the panel during the hearings on the Maritime Pacific Terminal near Bellingham.
The Sierra Club filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Burlington Northern Santa Fe, claiming tons of coal dust blows off the company's trains into Puget Sound and Washington rivers, including the Columbia.
The lawsuit, filed in Seattle, doesn't specifically mention any problems in the Mid-Columbia, but Sierra Club spokeswoman Krista Collard said Tri-City residents have reason for concern.Each open coal loses 500 to 600 poulds of coal along its way to the terminals on the Pacific Coast.
"If you have rail lines that go along the waterways, you're probably at risk," Collard told the Herald.
The Sierra Club plans to file a similar suit in the Eastern District of Washington -- which includes Richland, Yakima and Spokane -- at a later date, according to a news release.
This is one more way the plans for the three coal export terminals could be derailed. This type of coal pollution has been going on for many decades, and has been largely ignored for too long.