Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coal Piles Taller than the Columbia Tower and Wider than Downtown

Posted by on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Every day, people come up to me on the street and they ask me, "Cienna, just how much coal are we talking about when we talk about 48 million tons of coal moving through Seattle, annually? That sounds like a lot of coal, but can you convert that into buildings for me? I tend to think better in building form. Thanks!"

Sadly, I can nothing but shrug at these people, for my brain doesn't think in terms of buildings—it thinks in terms of knife sharpeners, sequins, and dryer lint.* Fortunately, today Sightline has the answer:

Choo-choo!
  • The big brains at Sightline.
  • Choo-choo!

In other words, this coal pile would eclipse downtown. (For a better scale of the goal pyramid versus downtown, go read the article.) And each open car of coal rumbling through Seattle would slough off a bit of coal in its wake, as a memento. Disgusting, yes?

If you're disgusted, mark your calendars: On Thursday, December 13, there will be a public hearing on the coal trains, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Washington State Convention Center (800 Convention Place), Ballroom 6F.

*3,428,571,428.57 knife sharpeners; 2,073,565,700,000,000,000 sequins; one metric fuck-ton in dryer lint.

 

Comments (24) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1

$1 Billion for Obama buys a lot prole lungs.

Warren Buffett's 1 Billion Dollar Campaign Contribution

a cool one billion for the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/31…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on November 9, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 2
Cienna you are SO lucky. Every day people, total strangers, come up to me and ask me how I manage to look so fabulous. They ask about my shoes and matching hand bag. I of course have no idea why I look so fabulous, I just grab and put on and presto it all looks wonderful. I never talk about coal as it's dirty potty talk.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on November 9, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
pragmatic 3
@1 Good your stupidity never ceases to amaze me. Did you even read the whole page?


*Note: I made this up. The only part that's true is the amount spent so far by the conservative PACs (compared to only $7 million by Priorities USA!) and the fact that Buffett won't contribute to Super PACs on principle. I think it's mistake: a unilateral disarming that won't change anyone's opinion about the wisdom of billionaires buying elections.
Posted by pragmatic on November 9, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 4
coal trains = jerbs. of course, the entire enterprise is hastening the demise of life on the planet, but any jerb is a good jerb, right?
Posted by Max Solomon on November 9, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 5
@2 I don't have that problem.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on November 9, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Gordon Werner 6
if we can't outright ban the coal trains ... can we at least force the coal companies who will be profiting to build overpasses on all the major streets in SODO? This would fix a lot of problems (not the coal problem ... but a lot of other problems)

The only place really "hurt" at that point is the Sculpture park ... but since they and their $$$ killed the waterfront streetcar I say fuck 'em
Posted by Gordon Werner on November 9, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Fnarf 7
@3, I'm laughing out loud. Bailo, you are dumber than a box of rocks.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 9, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Dougsf 8
That's a big Twinkie.
Posted by Dougsf on November 9, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
9
Holy crap! Why can't they pile to coal outside the city in a field somewhere? Or a large hole?
Posted by cliche on November 9, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
I like to measure it by the number of dead kids and vets who die due to the coal dust from the tarp-covered train. Which is around 200.

How much is it worth now?

Coal trains should be in underwater tunnels, not people.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM · Report this
11
@6
We cannot force the railroad to build the overpasses. I have heard various figures, but they can only pay not more than 5% to 10% of a rail crossing improvment, the rest has to come from somehwere else. Some sort of federal law protecting interstate rail traffic from long long ago applies here

It is, however, possible to try and say that the company building the port, SSA Marine, could be forced to mitigate the costs of such overpasses rather then the railroad (which would be 100s of millions throughout the whole state, as this impacts more than just Seattle).

However, SSA Marine will be arguing hard that they should only have to mitigate costs that are related to the buildign site at Cherry Point in Whatcom county, not anything beyond.
Go to the scoping meeting and ask for the cost of the overpasses to be mitigated!

(it would be my hope that this sort of mitigation of cost would be adked of SSMA Marine and Peabody Coal as a condition of bulding the port, and that this would make the prouject too expensive for them to actually follow through and do. Then we would not have coal ports or coal trains!)
Posted by RedEye on November 9, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
theophrastus 12
now for extra-credit what's the volume (at standard temperature and pressure) of the CO2 that will be released from that mountain of carbon? (hint: 12 grams a mole of carbon and approximately 22.4 liters per mole of some typical gases)
Posted by theophrastus on November 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
13
@4: Yep, I'm going to Godwin the fuck out of this shit. The guards at Auschwitz had "jobs". Not all jobs are created equal.
Posted by MLM on November 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
14
That graphic is really misleading for anyone that knows what the seattle skyline looks like. From what vantage point are those four buildings oriented like that where the distance between the furthest is 0.53mi? They're miles apart in a straight line...
Posted by durr on November 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 15
I'm only getting a pile 431 feet tall and 1304 feet in diameter. Barley taller than the Westin Building, well under the Smith Tower.

Right? 192,000,000 cubic feet? A cone with a height one third the diameter? V= 1/3 * pi * r^2 * h ? No?

Also. Am I wrong to think it's beside the point? Because it's not coming in one big pile, once a year. So who cares? But still, if you're going to make this argument, please check yr math cause I think it's not that big a pile of coal.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on November 9, 2012 at 4:33 PM · Report this
16
"Eclipse downtown"? You realize that the placement of those buildings on that graph doesn't indicate how far apart they are, right? Per Google maps, it's 1.6 miles from the Space Needle to Smith Tower. The pile on the graph is 1/2 mile in diameter.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on November 9, 2012 at 4:53 PM · Report this
17
Just imagine the gut level experience of having this quantity of coal driven across a large number of our most heavily trafficked roads and through the most densely populated regions of the densely populated Puget Sound basin. Consider that Golden Gardens, Carkeek and Richmond Beach Parks, to name but three of the dozens of parks along the route, in addition to Sculpture park mentioned above, will experience an increase in noise levels perhaps unequaled in modern regional history (for that matter, imagine the dismay of the home owners and businesses sitting on all of that expensive track-side water view property along the coal train route.)

There are far simpler realities than the weight of a mole of carbon or the finer points of federal railroad law to consider here. Though these subjects are technically relevant, they will never stir the blood the way the actual trains will as they quite literally, every single day, physically encroach on us in their many ways. If you really think about it, none of us will be entirely beyond their reach. The honest cost of the trains' full, short and long term environmental impact surpasses any economic benefit by such a margin that it seems almost surreal the proposal is being taken seriously. But for the federal mandates on rail right of ways it wouldn't be.
Posted by Edward on November 9, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
18
Cool! Does Christo know about this?
Posted by RonK, Seattle on November 9, 2012 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Unregistered User 19
That kind of graphic just makes my brain go "cooooool"
Posted by Unregistered User on November 9, 2012 at 5:33 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 20
@15 - It looks like you are missing a zero on the cubic feet. If a ton is 40 cubic feet, 48 million tons is 1,920,000,000 not 192,000,000.
Posted by Free Lunch on November 9, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 21
How much tax revenue is that?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 10, 2012 at 8:22 AM · Report this
22
@17 Reading your comment makes me regret voting for Obama.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on November 10, 2012 at 8:42 AM · Report this
23
Coal Train mitigation are the solutions to Chris Hansen's traffic problem.
Posted by hmmmmm on November 10, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 24
@20

Oops.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on November 10, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this

Add a comment

Advertisement
 

Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!


All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy