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State Action on Coal

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Since the Trump Administration is going to SAVE COAL!!!, I wonder how it will respond to the western states refusing to allow coal development in the ports required to ship it overseas.

Washington state dealt a blow Tuesday to the last remaining coal export terminal proposed along the West Coast, throwing the viability of the project into question.

The state will not allow the developer to build the terminal’s loading docks on state-owned land, outgoing Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark announced, citing the developer’s failure to answer questions about the structure of the loading dock, as well as questions about the overall financial viability of the project. Last year, Arch Coal — a minority stakeholder in the project — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after slumping coal production.

The land is currently leased by Northwest Alloys, which had requested a permit from the Washington Department of Natural Resources to lease the land to Millennium Bulk Terminal, the developer behind the proposed export terminal.

Goldmark’s decision is yet another blow to the future of fossil fuel exports along the West Coast, which was once viewed as the gateway between the coal mines of Montana and Wyoming and the coal markets of Asia. In 2010, the West Coast had six proposed coal export terminals, which combined could have handled 100 million tons of coal annually. But staunch community opposition, combined with declining coal consumption worldwide, have made those projects less and less viable in recent years.

Today, the Longview terminal is the last remaining coal export terminal proposed along the West Coast — making it a crucial target both for environmental activists opposed to expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and for fossil fuel and labor interests, who argue the terminal would bring much-needed economic stimulus to an area of Washington plagued with chronically high levels of unemployment.

Due to the scope of the project, the terminal would require approval at several levels — city, state, and federal — to ultimately move forward. The Washington Department of Ecology is currently working on the final version of its Environmental Impact Statement, which is expected to be released sometime in the coming year. If approved, the first phase of the terminal could come online as early as 2020.

I’m sure Rick Perry will have a brilliant solution to this barrier to coal domination of America if he can remember which federal agency he heads.

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