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Flood watch issued December 20, 2014

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Letter to the Editor: No to coal

— No to coal

To the editor:

As I was sitting in my yard in White Salmon this past weekend enjoying the warm sun and the crisp fall air, my attention was diverted to the sound of the train as it blasted it’s horn through Bingen. Although this is a common occurrence for residents of the gorge, the future effects of the increased train traffic are impossible to ignore.

We live in paradise here in the Columbia River Gorge. Our precious natural resources of clean air, water and soil are incredible gifts only dreamed of by millions of people throughout the world. The citizens of this area, along with those along the Columbia River east to Wyoming will receive no benefit from increased train traffic filled with open cars of coal traversing our lands day after day after day.

I spent a majority of my life living in Kentucky and the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and Georgia. I have seen the ashy, drab grey that covers bridges, buildings and homes.

I have heard the “romantic” horn of the train all day and night to the point in which silence becomes a distant memory. And I have smelled the acrid dust-filled air that fills our lungs with every breath.

My husband and I used to dream of living in a place with clean air and water. Years ago when our children were born in Louisville, Ky., our pediatrician encouraged us to move west for clean air due to our young son’s severe asthma and environmental allergies.

Every day we would read news stories about the negative impact of coal dust on the communities throughout Kentucky: asthma and serious allergies at all-time high levels due to the the air-borne dust from the coal trains, the waste from the burning of the coal, and finally the acid rain filled with minute carcinogenic particles that fall from the clouds.

Now more than ever our community needs to join together and speak up, act out and stop the impending environmental disaster that will occur if we allow coal to be dug from our precious land in Wyoming and transported to China through this beautiful paradise we call home.

Once this project gets under way, it will be next to impossible to stop the constant noise, air and water pollution that will forever stain our land a bleak, drab grey.

Joanne Matson

White Salmon

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