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Readers' Letters: Do the math: Coal dust concern is real

Jeff Kropf’s guest column (Oregon’s economy needs coal exports, July 4) focused on coal exports and the absurdity of being concerned about coal dust.

To paraphrase Kropf: First and foremost, let’s address the absurdity of the claim that coal trains have been coming through the Northwest for years. How is this relevant? Does it imply we can’t discuss whether we want to add dozens more trains a day and their impact because some travel here now? That makes no sense.

The dust issue is real. Transporters’ in-house numbers indicate that approximately 1 pound per car per mile of dust is lost. On the trip from the Powder River Basin (Montana and Wyoming) to Bellingham, Wash., that’s less than a ton out of more than 220,000 pounds — less than 1 percent. It’s real.

A ton of Powder River Basin coal is worth what? $10? No one is going to cover or install and maintain any other system to save $10 per car. However, 1 pound per car per mile multiplied by the dozens of trains per day proposed means every 50 feet of property frontage along a track will get more than 1,000 pounds of coal dust dumped on it every year. That’s basic, easy math.

This is not absurd. It is a legitimate concern. Anyone who makes this argument is either ignorant of this or does not care about farmers’ property rights.

Ignorance is OK. Education resolves ignorance. Tell you what. We’ll come dump 1,000 pounds of coal dust where your kids play and where we grow their food, and then you tell us again how absurd it is.

Andrew Stone

Northeast Portland

Laziness cause of parking problems

As usual, there are people out there who must ruin things for everyone else (Defrauding disabled parking, July 11).

Those who need to park

close because of a disability are not going to be able to do this because there are people too

lazy to walk to the bus or pay for their parking. There are park-and-ride areas that apparently aren’t convenient for them, either.

I also see people in their 30s and 40s at the stores who park in disabled places and get out and walk fine, taking up spots for those who can’t.

Beckie Granville

Northeast Portland

Responsible forestry not getting fair shake

Your article about forest certification programs (Pulp Fiction?, Sustainable Life, Aug. 15) painted an inaccurate portrait of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and left out many important facts, including several that I discussed with reporter Steve Law when interviewed for this article.

As an Oregonian running a fourth-generation family logging business, I care passionately about the health of our forests and want to make sure they thrive for generations to come. I’m also committed to protecting our watersheds and wildlife habitats, which every community in the state depends upon.

The science-based SFI Standard has become the leading one in Oregon, and throughout North America, in improving responsible forestry practices to meet those goals. It requires practices that protect fish and wildlife, ensure clean water and soil and result in sustainable, healthy working forests.

The critical difference between SFI and other certification programs is that SFI’s network of regional implementation committees actively work to train loggers and others in best practices. Only by engaging with those doing the work on the ground can an organization make a difference in the forest. SFI makes a difference and is recognized for its community network and its logger training, its best management practices for water quality and soil protection and much more.

Also, by excluding SFI from credit under Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, the U.S. Green Building Council is actually taking jobs away from Oregonians who practice responsible forestry. It’s wrong economically and ecologically.

It is disappointing to me that the author of the article had an opinion he was forcing on everyone without listening to and reporting on the opinions of those he interviewed.

As an Oregonian, I expect more from the Portland Tribune.

Bob Luoto

McMinnville