Tonya and Richard Burkholder own a dune buggy rental shop next to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
A proposed coal export terminal in Coos Bay would route coal trains just 100 feet from the Burkholder’s home and business. Richard doesn’t mind; trains have rolled through the area for decades, hauling everything from logs to gravel.
The Burkholders aren’t worried that transporting coal will harm the environment. And they don’t think trains will keep tourists away from the dunes, or their business. They’re convinced the terminal will bring desperately needed investment to Coos Bay. It will bring in ships, create jobs and diversify the local economy.
“Put aside the coal,” Richard says. “It’s business.”