New report identifies costs for proposed coal export terminals

The costs for upgrading rail lines, roads, and other infrastructure to support proposed coal export facilities on the West Coast could reach into the billions of dollars across the four-state Northwest region, according to a report released today. The report, prepared by Whiteside & Associates and G. W. Fauth & Associates for the Western Organization of Resource Councils, a Montana-based agriculture and conservation group, details the expected increase in coal transport and identifies impacts to communities along the transport routes. The report shows that coal transport could exceed 75 million tons per year by 2017, and 170 million tons per year by 2022, to the proposed terminals in the Pacific Northwest. The increase in rail transport will require additional overpasses, underpasses, and other upgrades. Last week’s derailments of rail cars carrying coal in Washington, Illinois, and Texas underscore growing concern over whether the Pacific Northwest regional rail system is capable of handling the additional coal train traffic. The report is available at www.heavytrafficahead.org.