I just talked with Frank James, one of the organizers who generated the Whatcom County physicians statement about the Coal Trains. Their goal is to make sure that a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) will be part of the review process. They have not taken a position for or against the Coal Trains as such, but rather just that it’s critical to include an HIA.
Frank thinks the most useful way we could help is to do some outreach here in King County and find some physicians that Frank could work with. If we can find a couple of docs, Frank can then take over. He has a lot of resources for them to use:
- An active group of Whatcom County docs to work with
- A database of 400 medical-journal articles relative to the possible health impacts: particulate matter from the ships and the once-an-hour trains; deaths from the train crossings; sleep disruption from the trains, which are 1.5 miles long; lung disease from the coal dust.
- Docs from Whatcom who could come meet with docs here.
- Training in how to do public speaking and outreach.
Sounds like we could be really helpful! I think the question for us is would we like to start working on Coal Trains stuff? And if so, who would be interested?