USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The Issue: Federal and state natural resource managers and Tribes are concerned with the environmental impacts from unintentional release of coal dust from train cars during transport through the Northwest. Proposed new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon would substantially increase rail traffic through the Northwest and the release of coal dust to the environment.
How USGS will help: To better understand and document the environmental impacts of transporting coal, the USGS will conduct a pilot study and reconnaissance-level sampling and analysis of mercury (Hg) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) levels in air, water, sediment, and biota at sites of interest near rail lines.