The Missoula City Council passed a resolution Monday night asking the Army Corps of Engineers to study the environmental impact of increased coal traffic through the city.
Councilman Dave Strohmaier, who wrote the resolution, says coal traffic in Missoula could grow to over 60 trains per day if proposed export terminals, currently being considered on the West coast, are built to export Montana mined coal.
Missoula residents, mostly in support of the resolution, packed the council chambers to give their input before the vote.
Comments addressed concerns about health problems associated with coal dust and train exhaust, the impact coal traffic could have on property value, and pollution and air quality risks.
"There's just a lot of problems with this, and I think we need more information and I appreciate and I hope that the entire council will support the resolution," said Missoula resident Scott Samuels.
The resolution passed on a six to three vote, and detractors were mostly concerned with the message the resolution would send to businesses looking to invest in Missoula.
"We are not equally represented in this room for other ideas other than one idea, and that's the environmental agenda,? said one person, speaking against the resolution. ?We've already had one mill close because the city of Missoula just drove them to the ground financially? This is what Missoula has become: get out if you don?t want Green.?
Several other cities, including Billings and Helena, as well as communities in Oregon and Washington, have already passed similar resolutions.