Video: What would Gorge coal trains look like?

Coal train coming?

Not if Mark England, Brett VandenHeuvel and other Gorge residents have their way.

Train derailments, increased air pollution and long waits at rail crossings were just a few of the concerns raised over the prospect of coal transport trains rumbling through the Gorge should proposed coal exporting facilities be approved at two ports in Washington.

Opponents who spoke at a Tuesday forum in Hood River also spoke of the global impacts of coal export and use, and health issues in the U.S. and abroad.

“Burning coal for energy is a bad idea anywhere it happens on our planet and to that extent it is a backyard issue for all of us,” England said.

The Australia-based Ambere Energy and Peabody and Arch coal firms are asking the ports of Longview and Bellingham to build facilities for export to Asia, primarily China. American coal use has declined 40 percent in the past 20 years, raising the need to export it across the Pacific, according to Cesia Kearns of the Sierra Club.

What would a coal train going through the Gorge look like? Probably something like these:

For more on this story, see the Nov. 12 issue of the Hood River News.

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