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Letter, 11/22: Rail lines being repaired

Letter, 11/22: Rail lines being repaired

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Nebraska Hwy. 2 Railroad Tracks

Vehicles cross the railroad tracks on 56th Street at Old Cheney Road on Aug. 18. BNSF and Omaha Public Power District in January will begin using the tracks that cut across south Lincoln as they send one coal train a day to supply OPPD’s Nebraska City power plant. 

The Local View published Oct. 22 by Mark Daharsh ("Believe science and act") is one of a series of efforts to kill off coal-burning electric power generation. 

The author doesn't have his facts right when he states that he saw BNSF railroad workers "building tracks" along Nebraska 2 and implies that the railroad shouldn't run coal trains to supply coal-burning power plants.

Had Daharsh done his research, he would have discovered that the railroad line from Nebraska City to Lincoln was constructed in the late 1800s. What he saw was BNSF workers not "building tracks" but upgrading existing tracks to prevent a possible derailment from blocking crossings in the south part of Lincoln when coal trains start running again in January. I think they should be praised for these efforts, not criticized.

I wonder if Daharsh and other environmentalists realize that last year for the first time, the volume of harmful emissions from transportation exceeded that from coal-burning power plants in the U.S. 

Other customers are located on the BNSF Nebraska City Line, including a grain elevator at Syracuse, which ships unit grain trains and a fertilizer dealer in Syracuse that relies on rail for delivery. 

If BNSF did not have the Nebraska City Line, this business would be forced onto Nebraska 2, which already has too many semis. Nebraska has abandoned far too many rail branch lines already to our detriment. Let's refocus and deal with the pollution problem caused by gasoline and diesel-fueled motor vehicles, the new greatest source of air pollution.

Richard Schmeling, Lincoln

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