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April 2, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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April 2, 2015
 

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Page 4 Free Press Thursday, April 2, 2015 ncrease in train traffc ras There's no question that there will be an increase in train ac- tivity passing through Cheney and the West Plains in the near future. There is a $26 million shuttle loading grain terminal sched- uled to be built at the inter- section of Craig and Medical- Lake-Four Lakes roads. Grain cooperatives organized under Highline Grain LLC will as- semble and load 110-car unit trains. Burlington Northern Santa Fe engines will pick up these trains and haul them back to BNSF lines intersect- ing at Cheney via the Eastern Washington Gateway branch of the Palouse River Coulee City Railway. There is also a new rail spur being constructed in Air- way Heights along the Geiger Spur. In an interview with the Tri- City Herald, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said the cargo vol- ume on its trains, which includes crude oil from North Dakota, could top records set in 2006. There are also more trains sitting on the sidings, waiting for traffic to pass. The increase in train activ- ity will bring some benefits to the West Plains' economy. Trains will transport large quantities of steel and other manufactured goods, which could potentially reduce the number of large trucks on the highway. While government officials and businesses may see the up- coming train traffic as a good business opportunity and growth for this area, there are financial, safety and social costs that need to be addressed. One of the concerns relates to the current conditions of the tracks. The 6.9 miles of tracks going from Cheney to the grain terminal will need to be upgrad- ed in order to accommodate the heavier trains coming through the city. The issue lies in paying to upgrade the tracks. BNSF plans to spend $189 million in upgrades across Washington state in order to prepare for its increased cargo volume. These improvements include the replacement of almost 50 miles of track and 200,000 rail ties and 1,000 miles of track surfacing and undercutting. The Palouse River Coulee City has applied for state money, $50 million in the Senate's pro- posed transportation budget. Another concern relates to potential disasters that come with increased train traffic.. Back in January, a 30-car grain train derailed the Cheney-Spokane Road crossing, which was closed for two days. This was a small inci- dent but imagine if a 110-car train jumped the tracks at the Cheney-Plaza Road crossing, SR 904 and Betz Road, or other crossings near populated ar- eas. What if there was a fire or an emergency and American Medical Response vehicles were unable to get to someone who needed help because a train was stalled or derailed on the tracks. What if someone needed to get to the hospital, but had to wait until the train went by. If someone passes away be- cause they didn't receive the help they needed, who will pay? The city of Cheney has pro- posed rerouting train tracks under SR 904 and to the east to alleviate the potential safety and social costs from increased train traffic. The cost to construct a grade separation and a train underpass could be around $30 million. While the Palouse River County City Railway has been allocatedmoney in the state Senate's proposed transpor- tation bill, the money isn't tagged for a train underpass at SR 904. While construction on the grain terminal and rail spur are moving forward, businesses and government officials can- not ignore these concerns. They need to address these matters and create some solutions before people get hurt and lawsuits start pouring in. Who are the nine nuc ear scoffl By LAWRENCE S WITTNER Contributor Given all the frothing by hawkish U.S. Senators about Iran's possible development of nuclear weapons, one might think that Iran was violating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But it's not. The treaty, signed by 190 nations and in effect since 1970, is a treaty in which the non- nuclear nations agreed to forgo developing nuclear weap- ons and the nuclear nations agreed to divest themselves of their nuclear weapons. It also Lawrence granted nationsWittner the right to de- velop peaceful nuclear power. The current negotiations in which Iran is engaged with other nations are merely designed to guarantee that Iran, which signed the NPT, does not cross the line from developing nuclear power to developing nuclear weapons. Nine nations, however, have flouted by either devel- oping nuclear weapons since the treaty went into effect or failing to honor the commitment to disarm. These nine scofflaws and their nuclear arsenals are Russia (7,500 nuclear warheads), the United States (7,100 nuclear warheads), France (300 nuclear warheads), China (250 nuclear warheads), Britain (215 nuclear warheads), Pakistan (100-120 nuclear war- heads), India (90-110 nuclear warheads), Israel (80 nudear war- heads) and North Korea ( less than 10 nudear warheads). Nor are the nuclear powers likely to be in compliance with the NFF any time soon. The Indian and Pakistani governments are engaged in a rapid nuclear weap- ons buildup, while the British government is contemplating the development of a new, more ad- vanced nuclear weapons system. Although, in recent decades, the U.S. and Russian govern- ments did reduce their nucle- ar arsenals substantially, 'that process has come to a halt in recent years, as relations have soured between the two na- tions. Indeed, both countries are currently engaged in a new, extremely dangerous nuclear arms race. The U.S. government has committed itself to spending $1 trillion to "modernize" its nuclear facilities and build new nuclear weapons. For its part, the Russian government is invest- ing heavily in the upgrading of its nuclear warheads and the development of new delivery systems, such as nuclear missiles and nuclear submarines. What can be done about this flouting of the NFF, some 45 years, after it went into operation? That will almost certainly be a major issue at an NPT Review Conference that will convene at the UN headquarters, in New York City, from April 27 to May 22. These review conferences, held every five years, attract high-level national officials from around the world to discuss the treaty's implementation. For a very brief time, the review conferences even draw the at- tention of television and other news commentators before the mass communications media return to their preoccupation with scandals, arrests, and the lives of movie stars. This spring's NPT review conference might be particularly lively, given the heightening frustration of the non-nuclear powers at the failure of the nuclear powers to fulfill their NPT commitments. At recent disarmament conferences in Norway, Mexico and Austria, the representatives of a large number of non-nuclear nations, ignoring the opposition of the nuclear powers, focused on the catastrophic humanitarian con- sequences of nuclear war. One rising demand among restless non-nuclear nations and among nuclear disarmament groups is to develop a nuclear weapons ban treaty, whether or not the nuclear powers are willing to participate in negotiations. To heighten the pressure for the abolition of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament groups are staging a "Peace and Planet" mobilization, in Manhattan, on the eve of the NPT review con- ference. Calling for a "Nuclear- Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustain- able World," the mobilization See Wittner page 5 FREE SS Vol. 118-No. 50 Press Production Manager Randy Warwick Pressman Mark Cordes Sales Steve Barge DeeAnn Gibb Front Office Venus Bratsveen Dawn Chernak Editor John McCallu m Reporters Paul Delaney AI Stover Graphics Brittani Montecucco John Myers Bookkeeper/Office Manager Debi Labish Publisher Harlan Shellabarger The Editorial Board is composed of Paul Delaney, A1 Stov~ Brittani Montecucco, Bill lift, John McCaUum and Harlan Shellabarger The Cheney Free Press is published every Thursday by the Free Press Publish- ing Company, William Ifft, president. Periodical post- age paid at Cheney, Wash. 99004. Published at 1616 W. First Street, Cheney, Wash. 99004. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Cheney Free Press, P.O. Box 218, Cheney, Wash. 99004-0218. ID PUBLICATION # 102240 The Free Press re- quests that contributors observe the following dead- lines, which will be strictly enforced: OBITUARIES. MEETINGS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES - Tuesday, 10 a.m. CHURCH CLUB MEETINGS ALL SOCIAL NEWS Monday, noon DISPLAY ADVERTISING -- Monday, 4 p.m. LEGAL NOTICES -- Monday, 5 p.m. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING -- Tuesday, 11 a.m. Rates: Addresses in Spokane County, $24 per year; $36 per year outside Spokane County; senior citizens in Spokane County, $22 per year. For other rates, call 235- 6184. Subscription cancellations are non-refundable! HOW TO CONTACT US Phone: 235-6184 Fax: 235-2887 emaih cfp @cheneyfreepress.com www.cheneyfreepress,com More discussion on school bond needs to take place Thank you to the Cheney Free Press for your opinion on the Cheney School District's bond issue published in last week's Cheney Free Press. I attended the last school board meeting and was ap- palled by their lack of re- sponse to a taxpayer's com- ments living near Snowdon Elementary. She stated she was a single parent, owned her home, a workingwoman and receiving treatment for cancer. When she asked the dis- trict to reconsider the bond of $44 million for 20 years, there was no response from the school board or school administrators. They said nothing, not a word. They could have responded by say- ing they were sorry to hear of cancer and treatment, then thanked her for sharing her concerns. My late husband and fa- ther were both school ad- ministrators and would have had the decency to reply with caring remarks. Also, Bill Johns asked the school dis- trict to debate the bond issue, See Letters page 5 John McCallum A1 Stover Editor Staff Reporter Main contact for ed#orial coverage. Cov- Covers all Medical Lake government, ers all Cheney government, cornrnunily, community and schoo/ district news, as school district news and events, as we// we//as Airway Heights news and Cheney as Cheney High Schoo/ sports.High School sports. jmac @chenejffreepmss.com al@ cheneyfreepress.com Paul Delaney Staff Reporter Covers all Medical Lake High School and Eastern Washington UniversiO/ sports and news. Contact for miscellaneous sports. c e dre pm s C C C e t, e i: r r c ] I F 2 C k C t i i: ( S f, C