Thursday, January 17, 2013

China Express:

I'm on the road in Wyoming tonight to begin a project we're calling "The China Express."
Rail lines for coal trains leaving the Powder River Basin in WY
As the United States continues to lower its dependency on coal, coal companies have turned to China. Currently, there are 4 daily trains each with over 100 cars of coal being railed from Wyoming to British Columbia where it's shipped to China. For every 500 miles a train travels it loses up to 0.6 tons of coal dust per car polluting communities, ranches and agriculture. Coal cars can't be covered because of spontaneous combustion. A proposed expansion (permits are pending) will increase the number of trains per day to 18. This expansion will also create a new mega mine in Montana and new shipping terminals in WA, OR and CA.

My plan is to follow the entire train route from here in WY to the Pacific Northwest proposed port in Bellingham, WA. I'll document the people and places along the way. I expect to be on the road for 3 weeks.
Platte River, WY
Had a beautiful drive into WY today.  Clear skies and mild temperatures.  This is an incredible part of our country.  It is also known as the "Energy Center" for the United States.
Buffalo graze near gas and oil development
Open plains where buffalo once freely roamed are now major producers of gas, oil, and coal.  Seeing this for the first time today it was difficult to photograph, much less take in, the magnitude of change occurring.

Still sorting it out tonight as I begin to spend the next several weeks documenting the current and proposed export route of our natural resources to China.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

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