In a letter to Whatcom County executive Jack Louws, Peabody Coaltrade global structured transactions president Stephen Miller said the company felt the debate was a non-issue with concerns “widely misrepresented”
“Coal trains have passed through Washington for decades,” Miller said.
“Before this project was announced, not one resident raised concerns about coal dust to regional air agencies.”
While Peabody does not feel there is an issue with dust, Miller said the producer intended to treat all the export coal sent through Cherry Point with sealant to eliminate the possibility.
The sealant, he added, was consistent with railroad shippers’ requirements.
Spokeswoman Beth Sutton said the plan was a “belt-and-suspenders” approach to dust concerns.
Miller, meanwhile, told the Washington executive coal trains would continue to move through his county regardless of whether the terminal came to fruition, and traffic for experts would continue to increase.
“The question is whether the local economy will benefit or if the trains will simply keep moving through to Canadian ports,” he said.
“We’d like to see the benefits stay in this region.”
Peabody has invited continued “candid discussions” with others as the terminal’s plans progress.
The producer will be the first export customer of the Gateway Pacific Terminal.