Plans for a massive coal export terminal in Grays Harbor, Wash., have been scrapped.
RailAmerica has abandoned any current plans to construct a coal storage and export facility at the Port of Grays Harbor’s Terminal 3 in Hoquiam.
Port Commissioners on Tuesday were told the company has completed an evaluation of the site and that it would no longer be exercising an agreement giving it access to study the potential for a coal terminal, although the rail company still plans to partner with the Port on future projects. …
RailAmerica had said it was interested in possibly shipping 5 million tons of coal annually from the Powder River Basin of Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, primarily overseas to China. Documents turned over by the Port of Grays Harbor as part of a Daily World public records request showed that RailAmerica first approached the Port about a coal terminal in the spring of 2010.
The port at Grays Harbor was one of several along the West Coast where coal export terminals have been proposed. As David Roberts noted in May, local economies don’t see much benefit from expanding harbors to facilitate coal export.
Opponents of the plan are, understandably, very happy. In a statement, Becky Kelley of the Power Past Coal coalition said:
We’ll continue to keep a close eye on all of the coal companies’ proposals. We believe that as other communities across the Northwest take a closer look at coal export, they’ll come to the same conclusion as Grays Harbor: there are too many impacts and too many costs from coal export. We can do better.
A RailAmerica spokesperson suggested last night that the company had other ideas for the terminal.
[A] company spokesman, Paul Queary, said RailAmerica was “shelving the Terminal 3 coal export project” because there is a “third party that has an interest in shipping something else from the terminal and thinks that would come to fruition more swiftly than the coal terminal.”
Happily, it can only be better than coal. Right? (Right?)