Stop the Coal Train Strain: Rise Up for Rail Line Justice

Diesel fumes in the MRL rail yard. Photo credit: Mark Kersting

Missoula, Montana, is at the center one of the biggest environmental justice fights in the region.  If companies like Arch Coal get their way, working class neighborhoods along the railroad tracks in Missoula could see up to thirty additional coal trains passing through residential areas every day, on their way to West Coast export terminals.  If coal export proposals go through, these communities will suffer disproportionately from diesel fumes, coal dust, noise pollution, and safety concerns associated with increased coal train traffic.

Help protect rail line communities from coal train pollution: come to our action in Missoula on Feb 22nd!

Coal export traffic affects rail line communities from Billings, MT to the West Coast.  However, the problem is exacerbated in Missoula because the rail line is located literally across the street from residential areas, and because a Montana Rail Link (MRL) fueling station is located in the middle of a largely residential area. 

MRL’s rail yard is already a health concerns for Missoula’s rail line neighborhoods.  Trains idling in the yard belch poisonous diesel fumes into the air, while routine cleaning procedures stir up clouds of coal dust and other toxic material.  While rail yards in cities like Portland, Oregon are located far from residential districts, in the Missoula rail yard heavy industrial activity takes place mere blocks from places where children play.  

The rail yard is an existing public health hazard that should not exist so close to residential areas, and bringing more coal trains through would make the problem even worse.  This is the message we’ll send on February 22nd, when residents and allies will rise up for rail line justice in Missoula.  Sign up to join us here.

This will be a peaceful, respectful display of opposition to coal train pollution.  It starts at 2pm on Feb 22nd, with a rally outside the Missoula County Courthouse (200 W. Broadway St).  After hearing from inspiring speakers, we’ll march along a section of rail line, ending at the Madison/Duncan Street crossing.  There, where a heavily used residential street intersects with the railroad tracks, we’ll hold a creative action to illustrate the effect thirty extra coal trains will have on the Missoula community.  Together, we’ll send a message to state officials that rail line communities deserve to be heard in decisions over coal exports.

We need large numbers of people, to send an effective message to decision makers.  Learn more here, or sign up to join us at the action!

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Event co-sponsors:

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Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club

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