photo credit: Bart Mihailovich

Communities in and along rail lines, including Millwood, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Sandpoint, Cheney and Tyler could see over 40 coal trains rolling through Spokane County town every day. This would add more than 8,000 noisy mile-long loaded coal trains traveling through Spokane County rail system every year.

A single slow-moving coal train can obstruct a rail crossing by six minutes or more. Adding 40 trains to the local area’s rail system would mean blocking some crossings by four hours per day.

Increased traffic delays at busy rail crossings would clog commuter traffic and could slow response times for emergency responders.

Added coal train traffic along the Spokane County rail line would limit access to neighborhoods, schools, business corridors and ferry terminals close to the train tracks. This could drive away investors for new residential, retail and commercial developments in communities in Spokane County. Increased coal train traffic could lower property values along the rail lines and would create congestion for critical business corridors.

Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) railroad studies estimate up to 500 pounds of coal can be lost in the form of dust from each rail car en route. The wide ranging health dangers of coal dust include exposure to toxic heavy metals like mercury and increased rates of asthma, especially in children. Coal dust and diesel exhaust from coal trains can cause serious long-term health problems like lung and heart disease and cancer. Coal dust would pollute our clean air and water.