A report just released this week by transportation expert Terry Whiteside sheds light on the huge impact that coal export rail traffic is going to have on other industries that use the tracks.
Out-of-state coal companies planning to mine coal in the Powder River Basin and ship it across rail lines through Montana are going to put a huge burden on Montana communities along rail lines by increasing train traffic by 40 to 60 trains a day. The congestion on the rail lines will cause all other train traffic to divert to California and Canadian ports. Grain, cargo and passenger rail will take a back seat to coal trains.
This is a losing situation for Montana. The American market for coal is shrinking, but these coal companies also want to dig up eastern Montana’s coal and ship it on trains to China. This endangers other Montana industries and threatens to destroy our landscape, our water and our agricultural areas.
Once again, mining companies and railroads would reap huge profits and leave Montanans to clean up the mess and foot the bill.