TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
Coal Train980
Along the West Coast there is now a debate over whether to build a string of ports to ship immense amounts of coal to Asia. (AP Photo)

Here come the coal trains

Along the West Coast there is now a debate over whether to build a string of ports to ship immense amounts of coal to Asia.

It would mean many jobs, but also many long coal trains rolling through cities like Seattle.

"We can have good jobs and we can protect the environment."

The business community was all in at Thursday's public hearing, but the talking Polar Bear was not.

"If we burnt all the coal in the ground, we'd heat this planet many times. My brothers and sisters are already struggling."

The bear had about 2,000 protesters on his side. So we're back to the same debate.

Let me make a suggestion:

Jobs are important, but since putting carbon into the air does have consequences, some people, like former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, want to replace part of the income tax with a tax on carbon.

"Yes, a tax swap. Let's put a tax on something we want less of and un-tax something we want more of," says Inglis.

Make companies pay up front for the consequences of their product.

"It does cause the price of gas to go up. It does cause the price of electricity to go up," sayd Inglis.

But that might encourage the free market, all on its own, to create cleaner sources of energy.

Here's another idea, maybe the coal company executives should have to live near the tracks used by the coal trains. Really nice houses, but near the tracks. Or along the Jersey Shore or some other place directly affected by sea level. Just have some skin in the game.

In my first radio job, the studio was right there at the transmitter. Whatever waves I created hit me first, which is the way it should be.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
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