Robert Hill is an engineer for BNSF Railway. He conducts some of the coal trains that travel through the Northwest. To Hill, concerns about coal dust and noise from coal trains are overblown.
Coal trains have been coming through many communities for many years, Hill says, and there has never been an issue with coal dust — or with coal, period. What coal export terminals will mean for the region, Hill says, is more jobs and an economic boon.
Although his mind is made up, Hill says he appreciates that communities want to have a say about moving coal through the Northwest. That includes his hometown of Washougal, Wash. It’s on a train route along the Columbia River.