Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On a rail

Posted on Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Montana is a land defined by its waterways. They are some of the healthiest and most pristine in the nation, drawing people from all over the country and world to fish, swim, raft, and admire them. So why risk degrading these precious wonders by letting careless and irresponsible companies such as Arch Coal and Burlington Northern Santa Fe transport coal in such close proximity to them?

In July, environmental groups filed their second joint lawsuit against BNSF after coal was found in the Spokane River. They claimed that coal trains running along waterways in Washington were discharging coal from the bottoms, sides and open tops of rail cars. BNSF argued that it did not violate the Clean Water Act, as the law has no jurisdiction over rail cars ... Rail cars? Jurisdiction? What about pollution?

BNSF is attempting to weasel its way out of responsibility via a legal technicality, leaving the public to clean up its mess.

Much of the same rail line runs along creeks and rivers in Montana, and unless the corporate giants in charge of mining and transporting our coal show a greater respect and sense of responsibility toward those who call Montana home, I would rather see them run out of town on a rail.

Max Higgins


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