Today in Seattle the Sierra Club and several other environmental groups announced they intend to file a lawsuit against BNSF Railway and several coal companies over the unprecedented claim that they spill coal into Washington state waterways as a violation of federal law. The continued transportation of our nation’s energy resources is vital to the competitiveness of manufacturers and supports jobs. Lawsuits like this continue to jeopardize our nation’s competitiveness and drives up the cost of manufacturing in the United States.
The Associated Press spoke to Dr. Roger McClellan, past chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air scientific advisory committee made the following statement regarding on the issue:
Dr. Roger McClellan, a past chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air scientific advisory committee, said “the mere presence of coal by a railroad track or in the water is not a health hazard.”
BNSF said in a statement they are committed to preventing coal dust from escaping while in transit and that the company has safely hauled coal throughout Washington for decades without a single complaint. It is very peculiar that the groups made this announcement of their intent to sue as debate heats up over coal export terminals in Washington state, which would create thousands of construction jobs and help export energy resources. It’s clear that today’s announcement is another way to try to impact the review process of the export terminals.
Manufacturers are committed to protecting the environment and are leaders in sustainability. Threats of lawsuits such as this just make it harder for manufacturers to compete, drive up energy prices and ultimately hurt our economy and jobs.