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I attended the coal train meeting held at Best Western in St. Helens last month, where I did not see one representative of the people and, quite frankly, I am shocked to find even one local who would be in favor of dragging 10 trains, 130-cars long through our communities each day filled with coal.

I am not an environmentalist, but even when you exclude the practical concerns of the 'greenies,' every one of us will be negatively impacted daily if the wants and wishes of the few members of the Port of St. Helens get their way. There are situations which arise where the decision process is hampered by the inability to understand or fully predict the future, but in this situation, discernment is not needed.

It has been said, 'the impending infrastructure will bring jobs.' This means viaducts across the highway in every small town along Highway 30. Is that what crosses your mind when you think of 'livability'?

Forty-thousand signatures of protest against coal were delivered to Washington state Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark's office on Feb. 29.

Does it sound like the people of Longview, Wash., want coal trains and all the great jobs that come with them? As if corporations don't bring workers from outside the county instead of hiring locals, or, has there been an ad in the paper that I am unaware of, looking to hire our local neighbors who are out of work?

This is your neighborhood. Never mind the coal dust. Never mind the noise, the overpasses that may or may not be built. This is where you live and breathe, this is the place we all call home and the financial benefits will never outweigh the living conditions in a coal slum.

The bright part is, you could stop this if you tried. If some corporation whose singular vision is the filthy lucre which comes from exporting Midwest coal to China wants to infiltrate our community through a group of bureaucratic scallywags, then the supporters of this madness at the Port of St. Helens need to join hands with our invisible county commissioners who don't seem to have an opinion on anything, from where our hospital tax money went to coal dust in your kids' lungs.

Perhaps they can all apply for one of those great paying jobs working for the trains.

If this is the best the port can do, it's time to scrap the port, fire its members and get back to finding a way to genuinely help each other through these hard times instead of depending on the type of human being that is only successful at winning an election.

Washington state citizens are squeaking loud and clear while our bought-and-paid-for representatives say nothing.

No one is paying the women on the hospital board, Brady Preheim, or me to fight for the money taken from you through legal theft. We just got involved.

Every time we attend a meeting with the powers that be, the excuse they give to us is that you, 'the people,' do not care. If they did, the powers say, they would be here in support of the position that differs from the powers that be's position.

Is it time for you to get involved?

Joe Cason, St. Helens

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