In June, Sightline wrote about the possibility that coal trains could damage property values in the Northwest based on an economics research paper that focused on southern California.
Now, we’re very pleased to see that Climate Solutions is publishing a detailed analysis of the losses that coal trains would inflict. Ross Macfarlane has the details:
Paul Zemtseff, an experienced appraiser and valuation consultant with the Eastman Company, looked at impacts from the coal train traffic to properties within 600 feet of the proposed route in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties. He concluded that properties near the coal trains would likely experience very significant impacts, including increased traffic congestion, noise, vibration, safety concerns, pollution, and stigma.
Given the tremendous value of property near the proposed coal train route in Northwest Washington, the report concludes that even a one percent drop in the properties studied would equal approximately $265,000,000 in lost value. This loss may also translate into lost revenues for the state and local governments as the tax base declines. Zemtseff also concludes that his analysis is conservative…
As Ross points out, a one percent drop yields hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Yet the expert valuation of properties near the main coal route finds that, depending on the location and type of property, the losses would likely be at least 5 percent—and they could range as high as 15 or 20 percent.
Coal export proponents claim they’re offering an economic benefit but—as the property value issue shows—closer inspection reveals that the proposals are much more likely to be very harmful to the region’s economy.