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Coal Neutrality Is Important To Mayor On The Rail Route

March 7, 2013 | OPB
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Toni Tabora-Roberts

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  • Camas Mayor Scott Higgins says he's not taking a position on coal export plans that rely on trains hauling the material through his town of Camas, Wash. on the Columbia River. credit: Toni Tabora-Roberts
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins says he's not taking a position on coal export plans that rely on trains hauling the material through his town of Camas, Wash. on the Columbia River. | credit: Toni Tabora-Roberts | rollover image for more
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Editor’s Note: Should coal from Wyoming and Montana be transported through the Pacific Northwest and shipped to Asia? In our multimedia project, “Voices of Coal,” we bring you nine diverse perspectives from people across the region with a stake in that debate. Today’s installment: The rail town mayor.

Scott Higgins is mayor of Camas, Washington, a town that would see more coal trains if proposed Northwest coal export terminals are approved.

Concerns from community members and advocacy groups brought the issue to his attention. The City Council did some fact-finding and eventually passed a resolution – not for or against the proposals, but asking officials to consider potential impacts to the city.

Higgins doesn’t see any pros or cons. In a city of 20,000, about five people have expressed concerns. “That gives us a little bit of a barometer that most of our citizens realize the same thing our city council realizes. This really isn’t a Camas issue. This is more of a regional and a global issue,” Higgins says.

Coal By The Numbers

  • Camas could see up to 35 more coal trains a day if all proposals go through. That would mean an increase of about 1.5 train whistles per hour each day.
  • Over 20 local governments in the Northwest have passed some sort of resolution regarding proposed coal exports. Some state outright opposition to the proposals. Others, like Camas’s resolution, request some level of review of impacts to local environment and health.

Click any image below to visit Voices of Coal.

Screen shot 2013-03-02 at 6.42.28 AM voicesgrid

© 2013 OPB
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