Do not expect the dust to settle on expansive plans to ship coal from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana to Asia via six proposed coal ports in Oregon and Washington.
The derailment Monday of 31 cars of a 125-car coal train at Mesa in Franklin County, 20 miles north of the Tri-Cities, made hypothetical hazards and disruptions all too real. Two other coal trains subsequently derailed in Illinois and Texas this week. The intensity of concern, suspicion and outright opposition to the proposed coal exports and all their rail impacts on local communities is growing. Plans call for massive coal terminals near Bellingham, Grays Harbor and Longview on this side of the Columbia River, and at Port Westward, Coos Bay and Boardman in Oregon.
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