Urgent Update to previous posting on the subject of fugitive coal dust from the Norfolk Southern terminal. As the issue had been presented as an item of immediate interest (tomorrow), I failed to verify the facts about when the City Council will be discussing this issue.
Here is the results of my fact-finding:
The earlier posting included the following (I have included letter labels for easy reference; A., B. C. …):
A. Tommy Smiegel has a resolution before City Council requesting Council action for action with Norfolk Southern to lessen the community’s exposure to coal dust, with coal car covers being a tangible solution to this problem.
B. This item will be heard at the April 28th City Council meeting. Please see below:
C. Sure enough, there’s “an abundance” of coal in that dust, according to the lab. You can see the test results (and read the actual test reports) here:http://coaldustnorfolk.com/CoalDustTesti… — lots of interesting micrographs and gas chromatograms for the scientifically inclined to peruse.
So what’s next?
D. There will a Norfolk City Council meeting next Tuesday, April 28th at 7PM at City Hall. …
E. The matter of the coal dust is going to be discussed, and…
F. a representative from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will be present.
G. ANY citizen of Norfolk can speak for 3 minutes at this meeting.
Subsequent to this, I received a link to Tommy Smiegel’s resolution to City Council, reproduced here:
As you will note (fyi, that’s my title of the document) this is the resolution from June of last year. I have checked the City Council’s meeting agenda for tomorrow, and based on that, and confirmed with someone in the City Manager’s office, the only item that is certain is F, a representative from the Virginia DEQ will presenting, BUT only during the CC’s informal work session starting @ 4:30 p.m. — prior to the formal session at 7:00 p.m.
So, based on my research, I would say that — referencing the labeled statements above:
F. is true, but only for the informal work session. It is not certain that the DEQ representative will be discussing this issue, or this issue only.
A. is true but only in the past tense, unless that resolution was killed outright. It is certainly out-of-date.
C. is an assertion, based on the testing discussed.
D. & G. are true in a general sense, but the “fugitive coal dust” issue is not on the formal session agenda and therefore cannot be debated by the Council without proper public notice. In other words;
B. is false, This item will NOT be heard at the April 28th City Council (formal) meeting.
I am not completely familiar with the CC’s rules of public admittance to the informal work sessions, but it is not held in the large Council chamber, so space is limited. Generally, members of the public may only speak if requested by the Council.