White Rock Finally takes Action to Measure Impact of Coal Trains on Air Quality on our Waterfront

White Rock has at last started to measure the impact of Coal Trains on our air quality.
Why does it take the city so long to take positive action?

The Mayor and Council are able to change the OCP in the blink of an eye, but they sure drag their feet when it comes to doing something positive for the community!

Here is a picture of the Mobile Air Monitoring Unit (MAMU) courtesy of the Save The West Beach Boat Launch Facebook page.

Mobile Air Monitoring Unit  located just East of the Boat launch

Mobile Air Monitoring Unit located just East of the Boat launch

Delta performed a similar study last year and found significant air pollution from the monitoring station located near the tracks. In addition, Washington State University professor Dr. Jaffe released a detailed assessment of health risks associated with living near coal trains. You can read more about that study here.

So while we wait for this latest study from the White Rock Waterfront, what do we already know about pollution from all these passing coal trains? Lots!

We already know how much coal dust gets put into our air and ocean using BNSF’s own data. This new study will just confirm it. Here is the data: 2100 pounds of coal dust flies off of the train and into our lungs and our sea and onto our homes every day.

Here’s the math:
Each car loses about 500 pounds on its 1100 mile journey from Wyoming to the coast (this is data that BNSF provides). Now let’s do the math. If we lose 500 pounds of coal (by weight) every 1100 miles, then that means that each loaded coal car releases about half a pound of coal dust per mile.

There are about 120 cars per train, and we expect at least 10 coal trains per day. That works out to 600 pounds of coal dust released per mile per day, which is 100 tons of coal dust released into the air per mile each year.

A trip around the Semiahmoo Peninsula is about 11 miles, so over 1000 tons of coal dust will land on the peninsula each year from the coal trains.

For White Rock alone with about 4 miles of track, we can expect about 2100 pounds of Coal Dust deposited on Our City by the Sea every day. That works our to be about 400 tons per year coating our streets and homes and lungs. That’s not good for tourism, its not good for business, and it certainly is not good for our health.

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