The burning of coal is an issue not only for fire, but for air quality. The four corners region already has too much mercury from coal in the air. Did you know that mercury poisoning and autism symptoms are identical? autism is an epidemic, and it’s critical that we remove all possible environmental triggers that could be setting off the genetic underpinnings of this sometimes devastating syndrome.
We need to transition away from coal fired power plants too and a good start is right here in Durango with our train.
So glad you are doing air quality monitoring along the DNGR corridor!
Soils along the tracks likely have hazardous levels of heavy metals from deposition of coal particulate emissions over the decades (see, e.g., https://www.railstotrails.org/resourcehandler.ashx?id=3762 ; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387276/ ; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096763/). I would love to see this issue investigated where the tracks are in the vicinity of residential areas and any necessary actions taken to remediate any hazards posed to human health or the environment.My kids love the train (like really love) and I appreciate its historic value and likely net economic benefits to our community (though I bet they\’re overblown). But we should not have to compromise our health and safety and environment to have a tourist attraction like it. The 416 fire was completely preventable and caused major upheaval to community members and businesses that the train does not appear to be taking very seriously (witness fire this week with no fire car following train to put it out). Thank you so much for taking on this cause!!
I have been doing my own air quality data collection when the train goes out and comes and I can tell you the findings are scary bad.
Forest fuels are drying and the monsoon is yet to arrive so we are once again at the mercy of the ember-belching coal-fired profit-only-oriented units, hence the sooner you can meet with the Harpers, the better. Thanks for your work!
Do the oil conversions to all of the trains. Run diesels when the fire restrictions are high. Improve your fire fighting operations. Don’t take for granted that all of these improvements don’t rule out a fire 100%. Work with the forest service guidelines as you are doing. I love the train. Please do the oil conversions to all of the locos. To me this is most important. There isn’t as much of a thrill to ride the diesels.
A cleaner, non-coal burning train will make it more sustainable and successful as it will be able to run if there are fire restrictions.