Lest you think I'm kidding, let me lay it out a bit more clearly. (And for those for whom this is repetition, remember repetition is a good thing. ;o)
One train every twelve minutes through my little town. At an optimistic five minutes per train, that leaves only seven minutes of open roadway between trains at each on-grade crossing.
People will die because ambulances can't get there.
Houses will burn, and people will die in them, because firemen can't respond.
Five minutes is an eternity to someone having a heart attack or stroke . . . and it only takes seven minutes for a manufactured home to go up completely, and not much longer for larger, less combustible structures. People who might have had a chance at life will lose that chance, should the emergency vehicle coming to their aid have to instead sit and watch a train go by.
Add to that the exponential increase in crossing accidents when there are more than 30 trains per day.
And the crazy, stupid-high rates of cancer and asthma and heart attack and stroke and other illnesses that skyrocket when diesel particulates from exhaust increase.
And the inevitability of a coal train derailing into Sandpoint's drinking water source: Lake Pend Orielle.
Or a derailment in town.
Or in the countryside, where local farmers try to make a living. One derailment nearby can destroy an organic farmer's livelihood, and his property value, for long enough to put him back at square zero.
And, to add insult to injury, most of the coal will go to China, where they'll burn it, and the pollution will then go up into the jet stream and fall right back on us here in the Northwest . . . from Bellingham to Sandpoint and beyond. Yeah. That's justice for you.
I'm sorry . . . no matter what the coal proponents might say, killing is killing is killing. It doesn't matter how many jobs this might bring to Bellingham (a town I love dearly!), or how much this might help some economy, somewhere.
It. Will. Kill.
No "economic benefit" tips the scales on that one. None.
Coal, go home.