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BNSF appeals environmental review of proposed coal terminal


BNSF Railway Co. has appealed an environmental review of the proposed Columbia River coal-export terminal in Washington state, according to reports in local news media.

Last year, Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview LLC proposed the construction and operation of a terminal to export coal from the site of the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter in the city of Longview in Cowlitz County. The terminal would be served by BNSF.

The project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) by the Washington Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County determined that diesel particulate emissions from trains serving the terminal would cause "an unavoidable increase" in the cancer risk rate for area residents, according to The Daily News.

BNSF officials believe the FEIS "makes several faulty assumptions about BNSF's railway operations, resulting in conclusions that overstate, in a counterproductive manner, the potential health risks associated with railroad operations in Washington, and the United States," according to BNSF's "Inside Track" newsletter dated May 10.

"Our biggest concern with this new analysis is that it suggests diesel particulate emissions from locomotives substantially increase cancer risks in communities that are located by railroad tracks in Washington," the BNSF newsletter states. "No credible scientific studies have ever shown this to be the case."

Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview operates a bulk materials port on the Columbia River.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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