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Health professionals call for review of proposed coal terminal

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Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 5:47 pm | Updated: 5:49 pm, Wed Aug 10, 2011.

BELLINGHAM — A group of 160 Whatcom County doctors and health professionals is calling for a comprehensive review of the health impacts from the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal and bulk cargo pier proposed at Cherry Point.

The group, calling itself Whatcom Docs, contends that both coal dust and diesel emissions from trains and ships have been shown to have harmful impacts on human health. They want a specific study on how Gateway Pacific would affect health in Whatcom County and elsewhere along the railroad lines leading to the pier.

Besides the coal dust and diesel exhaust, the doctors also call for study of potential local health impacts from added railroad noise and disruption of emergency traffic at rail crossings.

Gateway Pacific, proposed by SSA Marine of Seattle, could require as many as nine coal trains per day if built to full capacity. Those trains would travel through Bellingham full and go back the same way after unloading, en route to mines in the Rocky Mountains.

"The particulate matter in diesel pollution is very much like cigarette smoke," said internist Pam Laughlin, a member of Whatcom Docs. "We wouldn't want to expose our children to toxins like that."

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  • ChainGang posted at 5:47 am on Fri, Aug 12, 2011.

    ChainGang Posts: 59

    "we can suffer from the toxic pollution"

    The medicos are asking for am actual study, to find out the facts instead of jumping to conclusions about all that, Lee_Usa.

  • Lee_Usa posted at 5:27 am on Fri, Aug 12, 2011.

    Lee_Usa Posts: 13

    Diesel trains going back and forth from the coal mines in the Rockies, 10 times - or more - a day. On trains pulling 150 open coal cars rolling through our valley. Our traffic will be a mess as we shut down our main roads for 10 long trains a day on top of all the trains we have going through now. Our air quality will suffer as the coal dust blows off the open trains. And we get nothing for it.

    Hauling coal from mines in the Rockies to the ocean so the coal can be sent to China -- the definition of a Third World country -- shipping raw resources to developed countries. In this case so they can burn the coal and we can suffer from the toxic pollution that will follow the jet stream right back to us. And we get nothing for it.


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