@44: I mean, I oppose the trains mainly for climate change, fishing industry and diesel pollution reasons, so I'll freely admit the "coal train dust problem" is a relatively minor concern to me. I too think there are other, better reasons for opposing the trains, and those reasons are in fact MY reasons. Even if we could eliminate coal dust emissions 100%, which we can't, I know I wouldn't be okay with coal trains.
While acknowledging that, I also think it's completely ridiculous to pretend there is NO coal dust problem, or to jump to the conclusion that it must be negligible, without adequate scientific review. I'm afraid you're making this leap to negligibility with very little evidence. There is evidence of a coal dust issue -- the railroad estimates
it loses something like 1-3% of its load to dust emissions in transit. Is it significant? Could it hurt people? I don't know. Let's study it.
Those emissions are pretty clearly what's pictured in the photo. But it now seems that you'll dispute whatever photo evidence of this problem exists, so there's really no point in going any further with this. I'll concede for now that your anecdotal account is probably superior to any observations of anyone else, ever, documented or otherwise. I'm not interested in arguing with someone who has no interest in seriously exploring the evidence that's out there, as I personally care about coal dust very little, especially from trains.
So with that said, I'm not saying it's the biggest problem. I am saying they should be required to study it. Especially at the port, which in the case of the Westshore terminal in BC, emits something like 700 tons of coal dust per year. And THEN we have the recent accident -- and surely you'll agree more traffic would mean more accidents, as that's just reality. More opportunities for accidents usually mean more accidents.
Last time I checked, Seattle is on Puget Sound, as would be the port, and has a sizable fishing industry dependent on the ecological health of that sound. I don't at all believe we could disregard marine pollution and accidents at the port as something that "will not affect Seattle and therefore off topic," again with no scientific review. They're both in the same marine environment.