If big coal companies get their way, the Pacific Northwest will soon become a major hub for exporting dirty coal to Asia.
In Oregon and Washington, proposals to construct several coal export terminals are on the table. If they move forward, about 150 million tons of coal each year would travel by train from Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to ports in Oregon and Washington, where it would be shipped to China, India, South Korea, and Japan.
Grist’s David Roberts published an excellent primer on the topic earlier this week, concluding as follows:
This is a case where local activist fights against fossil-fuel projects matter not just for the politics of climate change, but for climate change itself. They matter for China — how much it pays for coal, how much it burns, and how fast it develops alternatives. And they matter for the U.S. The American coal industry is on the ropes. Preventing export terminals can keep it there.
The activist instinct to harry coal at every stage — mining,transport, export, power plant — is the right instinct. Coal is the enemy of the human race. It needs to be kept in the damn ground.
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