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Risks of Proposed Coal Shipments through Pacific NW



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Risks of Proposed Coal Shipments through Pacific NW

  • Global warming, ozone, mercury
  • Jobs gained:
    • Building and operating transfer facilities
    • Temporary; dangerous
      • Coal terminal workers have 3-fold increased risk of lung cancer
  • Job loss:
    • Local businesses cut off for 1-2 hours per day from auto traffic

Coal and Oil

  • Many new coal and oil terminals planned for Gulf of Mexico (if Pacific NW plans do not work out)
    • $500 million oil terminal proposed for Portland
    • Supported by state and federal funds
    • If all coal export terminals, oil-by-rail facilities, oil pipelines, and natural gas pipelines planned for the Pacific NW are completed and fully utilized, the region could export fossil fuels carrying 5X as much carbon as the proposed Keystone Pipeline

Coal and Oil

  • Plans to use railways and terminals to transport Canadian Tar Sands and North Dakota Bakken Oil Field fracked oil through Pacific NW for export
  • 2008: 9,500 rail cars carrying oil in the U.S.
  • 2014: over 400,000 cars (a 4,000% increase)

Coal and Oil

  • Pipelines on wheels
  • 2013: Trains carrying crude oil exploded, spilled, or derailed 117 times
    • E.g., Lac-Megantic, Quebec – 47 killed, $1.2 billion damage (2013)
  • More crude oil spilled in U.S. rail accidents in 2013 than in previous 40 yrs combined

Lac-Megantic, Quebec, 2013

Coal and Oil

  • Federal government predicts trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an avg of 10X/yr over the next 2 decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds if they occur in a densely populated region
  • 16 million Americans live within 0.5 km of one of the existing lines

Coal and Oil

  • Old (dangerous) tanker cars slowly being phased out
  • Speed limit of 40 mph set for cities with large populations
  • Track, bridges aging, fire departments not prepared to handle blazes (special equipment required)
  • Crude by Rail Safety Act pending in Senate

Coal and Oil

  • 2015: US Interior Department’s Regional Management Plan authorizes sale of $10.2 billion of Powder River Basin coal (on 106,000 acres of public land) at far below market prices
  • Would negate most other Obama administration actions to control carbon emissions

Proposed Coal and Oil Shipments through Pacific NW

  • Facing strong community opposition
  • Nineteenth Century technologies vs. program of sustainable, clean energy for the 21st Century
  • Opposition having some success
  • For more details, see slide shows on the Environmental Health page of the PHSJ website

Other Sources of Air Pollution

  • Industry - #1
  • Indoor air (chemicals)

Indoor combustion of coal and biomass

  • For cooking, heating and food preservation
    • Used by 3 billion people worldwide
    • Causes close to 2 million deaths/yr
    • Associated with multiple pulmonary conditions
    • Women and children predominantly affected
    • Combining agricultural and kitchen waste with ash and char residue from cooking fires creates material highly resistant to decomposition – can be added to infertile/degraded soil to create highly-fertile, highly carbonated soil

Other Sources of Air Pollution

  • World Trade Center bombings (9-11)
    • 3,300 fatalities
    • Over 18,000 people suffering health problems linked to attack and rescue (multiple toxic pollutants in smoke and rubble
    • First responders suffer elevated rates or asthma, abnormal spirometry, GERD, depression, PTSD, panic disorder, and cancer
    • James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act of 2010 provides for some coverage of monitoring, treatment, and victim compensation

Noise Pollution

  • Common in inner cities, hospital wards
  • Average sound level 72dB in hospital wards
    • WHO recommends no more than 35dB
  • Adverse health effects include increased risk of HTN, ischemic heart disease, delayed wound healing, aggressive behavior, need for psychiatric and pain medications, GERD symptoms, hearing loss in neonates, and increased rates of rehospitalization

Garbage

Garbage

  • 98% of the country’s total refuse is industrial waste; 2% municipal waste
    • Making 1 lb of sellable product generates avg. 32 lbs. of waste

Garbage

  • American produce 4.5 lbs/d garbage
    • 1,680 lbs/person/yr
  • In a lifetime, the average American generates 102 tons of trash

U.S. Garbage Composition

  • Paper and Paperboard - 34%
    • Average American household receives 100 lbs of junk mail per year
  • Yard Waste - 13%
  • Food Waste - 12%
  • Plastics - 12%
  • Metals - 8%
  • Glass - 6%
  • Wood - 5%

Where Does U.S. Trash Go?

  • 53% discarded
  • 34% recycled
  • 13% combusted for energy

U.S. Recycling Rates (2013)

Garbage

Garbage

  • Incinerators
    • Between ¼ and ½ of rural Americans burn their trash
      • Accounts for 1/3 of U.S. dioxin emissions
      • Outlawed in some states
  • Global trash burning releases 5% of man-made emissions of CO2

Garbage

  • Garbage Exports
    • Scrap is the leading US export
  • Mafia involved in $22 billion-a-yr illicit wasted trade
  • 15 million grassroots recyclers / waste pickers living in garbage dumps worldwide


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