Commenting on Climate Policies, Oil Trains, and Coal Trains

Letters to the Editor (LTEs)

Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper is not difficult and you’ll be surprised how many neighbors thank you for it. Here’s a list of newspapers in or near the Gorge in or near the Gorge and their requirements.

Commenting on Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

How to submit a scoping comment for environmental impact statements (EISs)

LTEs and Comments on Climate Policies

Both Oregon and Washington are trying to figure out an effective price on greenhouse gas emissions. One solution is to tax dirty infrastructure purchases instead.

Dae in Oly

LTEs and EIS Comments on Oil Trains

Comments on the Tesoro-Savage (Vancouver Energy) Oil Terminal DEIS

Here are some of the Public Comments opposing Tesoro Savage oil terminal and oil by rail:

City of Vancouver Comments on Draft EIS

Washington State Attorney General Comments on Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Project DEIS

Multnomah County RESOLUTION NO. 2016-001 Opposing Oil Shipment by Rail

Vancouver 101 Small Businesses against Big Oil terminal

Stand Up To Oil

LTEs and EIS Comments on Coal Trains

Comments on the draft SEPA EIS for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview coal terminal:

Friends of the Columbia Gorge: “The proposed MBTL coal export terminal would cause a significant increase in the number of unit trains of coal passing through the Columbia River Gorge. The direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the addition coal train traffic would cause significant adverse impacts to communities in the Gorge and the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreation resources of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. This ultimate conclusion is supported by the DEIS, which identifies a range of unavoidable significant adverse impacts. However, the DEIS fails to disclose the full extent of impacts, particularly impacts to the communities and resources in the Columbia River Gorge. It also fails to provide mitigation for some of them. Friends recommends that the EIS be revised to fully disclose and mitigate the impacts to the Columbia River Gorge.”

US Fish and Wildlife Service: “The Service believes that the SEPA co-leads should recommend against approval of this proposed facility/project.”

US National Parks Service: “We are pleased that MBTL is proposing to offset 50 percent of the net operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions identified in their 2015 Policy Scenario (page 5.8-22). However, Appendix 2 of Washington’s 2010 Climate Change Comprehensive Plan states ‘maintaining emissions at current levels means we are not on track to meet the state’s statutory GHG reduction limit for 2020, and must continue to look for additional opportunities to increase energy efficiency, promote renewable energy, and otherwise reduce our GHG emissions.’ Therefore, requiring MBTL to offset all project GHG emissions, including those from both operations and transport, would support the goals of the state’s 2010 Plan.”

US Forest Service: “We request that the final DEIS for the Millennium Bulk Terminals- Longview proposal include an analysis specific to the potential impacts of the project to the resources, communities, and economy of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The Scenic Area is unique as a congressionally designated area with a high concentration of important and sensitive scenic, natural, cultural and recreational resources and a local economy that is closely tied in with the protection and enhancement of those resources. We urge the agencies responsible for developing this analysis to utilize information sources specific to the Gorge, to inform the analysis. Examples include Dr. Dan Jaffe’s studies of coal dust deposition in the Gorge (!), information available from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (, and Gorge-specific information from state and federal agencies involved in land and resource management in the Columbia River Gorge.”

Washington State DOT: “Given our concerns identified, WSDOT believes that the impact of this proposal will be significantly greater than identified in the DEIS, and the proposed mitigation measures are inadequate.”

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission: “Finally, it is important to remind the agencies that the propent [sic] of the Millennium coal terminal, i.e., Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, LLC, has not demonstrated a history of being an honest member of the community. The proponent visited CRITFC and presented information on a project far smaller and very different from the current project. There is still a significant amount of distrust. In conclusion, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission respectfully requests that Washington state and Cowlitz County use their respective authorities to DENY the Millennium coal terminal.”

City of Hood River: “Our City supports the ‘no action’ alternative in the Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBTL) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).”

City of North Bonneville: “Our City supports the ‘no action’ alternative in the Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBTL) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).”

City of Stevenson: “The City of Stevenson, Washington opposes the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals and approval of the draft Environmental Impact Statement.”

Gorge Commission: “In summary, it is important that there be much more rigorous analyses of potential impacts within the NSA from increased rail traffic. The analyses of impacts in the DEIS are vague at best and should be much more detailed, with special emphasis on the risks within the National Scenic Area. We request that the final EIS analyses consider the very unique and special geographic and meteorological characteristics of the NSA and address how the cultural, scenic, natural and cultural resources, and Gorge economy, will be protected and in compliance with the NSA Act. First and foremost, there must be a more rigorous assessment of the risks and benefits of coal transport through the Gorge. Second, adverse effects identified in the evaluation must be avoided, minimized and mitigated throughout the Gorge area. The Gorge must be fully protected and rigorously managed under federal and interstate standards.”

Eric Strid: “Given that the global demand and price for coal continue to decline while clean-energy alternatives continue to improve, none of these [project] objectives are likely to be achieved. This project is already a stranded asset, even before the EIS is done. The DEIS is deficient in its use of outdated market data in the SEPA Coal Market Assessment Technical Report. For example, Figure 12 shows China coal imports rapidly rising through 2012, while in fact those imports peaked in 2013 and have declined since then.”