BNSF currently owns the Farmland Route that branches in Burlington, WA northeast through Sedro Whooley, the South Fork Valley, Nooksack, Everson through the Sumas. There has also been consideration of an east/west rail expansion proposal connecting the  rail like through Lynden to Custer [see  Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan’s rail map ].

BNSF can choose to use or further develop this route at any time, for additional freight or for coal trains going to or returning empty from Cherry Point.

In addition to requesting that all existing rail lines and potential rail expansion projects tin Whatcom County be adequately studied in the Environmental Impact Statement, consider the following impacts on agricultural and rural communities:


NOISE and impacts on sleep cycles of residents, children, the elderly, livestock, as well as cumulative effects of 24/7 whistles;

AGRICULTURAL risks, including vibration and noise on livestock and dairy production, soil and crop pollution, crop damage, loss and division of farmland, sense of place, heritage;

CONSTRUCTION upgrades, spurs, links, bridges, etc. and the impacts of that construction on traffic, the environment, and the transformative impacts upon our communities and sense of place, etc. Also, expense to TAXPAYERS;

DERAILMENTS and increased risks of derailments associated with wet soils, landslides, and seismic activity areas, as well as home safety close to the tracks and ecological impacts of derailments.

TRAFFIC and the potential for ACCIDENTS at unsafe rural crossings, or with increasing stops on winding roads and/or attempts for cars or trucks to “beat” delays (naming specific crossings);

WAIT TIMES for trains to cross (or if a train derails) and impacts on first responders, school bus routing, and increased commute times, etc.;

COMMUNITY HEALTH risks associated with diesel particulates (asthma, lung, and heart), loss of coal in transport and coal dust or runoff from rain— either airborne or after settling on crops and in water ways.

SCHOOLS and proximity of the schools to the tracks and exposure of children to noise, health risks, and safety issues.

WATERWAYS and FISH and their proximity to the tracks and risks to habitats from rail line pollution and coal dust and runoff; and

Anything else (and PLEASE let us know your concerns)

TERMINAL IMPACTS include: fugitive coal dust, ecosystem destruction, aquifer degradation, ecosystem destruction, and impacts on existing natural resource industries such as fishing, farming, and tourism.

What can I do?

You can help define what the Environmental Impact Statement must consider as the ramifications of using the Farmland Route during the “Scoping Process,” which ends on January 21, 2013.

Details on the Scoping Process is available on our main page.

Learn more, join the SGSF email list, volunteer, or attend our bi-monthly group meetings:

Recent Posts

The Coal Enigma

You’ve probably heard the CSX  Railroad radio ads.  It’s so easy to let it swish between your ears, “hurray for green and efficient trains”.  The pitch is: Trains can transport one ton of freight 500 miles on 1 gallon of fuel.

So here’s how it adds up for coal going to the Gateway Pacific Terminal.

One coal car carries one hundred tons. It travels about 1500 miles.

One coal car utilizes 1 gallon of fuel per mile, multiply by 3 (1500 miles) x 100 (tons) which is 300 gallons of fuel to move one car of coal from the Powder River Basin to Cherry Point.

A coal train has 150 cars, thus requiring 45 thousand gallons of fuel for one trip.  In order to gauge this; visualize a gasoline tanker truck and trailer set, you’ll need four loads, each set holds eleven thousand gallons.

If we have 9 trains per day as stated by SSA, traveling to Cherry Point, then that equals 405 thousand gallons per day for diesel fuel.

Multiply that by one year and that is 147, 825,000 gallons of fuel per year and that is one way not round trip.

147, 825,000 gallons of fuel per year, give that some thought!

We are exporting a natural resource, coal, which means more jobs for Asian manufacturers, fewer for America, and we are taking near to 150 million gallons of diesel fuel off the American market, limiting supply to American farms and industry and raising the price to American business and consumers, destroying our landscape, polluting air and water and decimating communities to do this.

How might someone who believes in the necessity of GPT explain the need for it in Wall Street’s own terms?

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