Richmond City Council on Tuesday passed a two-part resolution 6-1 that in part opposes the rail transport of coal and petroleum coke along California waterways and through populated cities like Richmond, according to the Contra Costa Times.
The Times cited a Sierra Club official who says railroad transportation of coal has increased to the Port of Richmond as shipments head off to Mexico and Japan. Such exports are on the rise as U.S. states shut down coal-burning plants, the officials said. Coal dust that inevitably escape the trains releases toxic substances, posing serious health risks in communities they pass through, the Sierra Club said.
The company at the Richmond port that receives coal shipments, Levin Richmond Terminal Corporation, disputes a 2009 report from a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway official that 645 pounds of coal dust pour out of each train car on a 400-mile trip.
Company officials instead say there are no health impacts from the shipments to its facility and that “private vehicular traffic and associated diesel emissions present a greater threat of harm to Richmond’s environment,” the Times reported.
Oakland and San Francisco passed similar resolutions banning the transport of coal and pet coke in their cities.
We encourage our readers to read the Times’ full report here.