Washington state regulators break with U.S. to analyze coal export plans

In a decisive split with U.S. regulators, Washington state says it will conduct a detailed environmental analysis of cumulative and indirect impacts of a proposed coal export facility, including greenhouse gas emissions from combustion of U.S. coal in Asia.

The state study involves Millennium Bulk Terminals, one of three proposed coal export facilities in the Pacific northwest that cumulatively would more than match the total of 107M tons of coal exported from the U.S. in 2011.

Millennium is a project of Ambre Energy, with a 62% interest, and Arch Coal (ACI), with a 38% stake; the terminal at the Port of Longview, Wash., would be capable of shipping as much as 48.5M tons/year of coal.

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Comments (6)
  • busterosodd
    , contributor
    Comments (63) | Send Message
    Ultra-left Liberal Progressives really are TRULY insane....
    13 Feb 2014, 06:40 PM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS
    , contributor
    Comments (3360) | Send Message
    A few green whackos in Local Gov't actually think they can have any effect on how much Coal China will use in aggregate?


    They are insane.
    13 Feb 2014, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • bisket
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
    Is Washington state so near sighted that if they don't allow for the bulk loading facility to be built there it will go to Canada. Canada is another site they are considering. One way or another it is going to happen. Asia wants this coal. Greenhouse gas emissions will happen no matter where China gets it's coal. If the facility were to be built in WA state at least they would reap the rewards of jobs, port fees and taxes and not let them go to Canada.
    13 Feb 2014, 07:20 PM Reply Like
  • Be Here Now
    , contributor
    Comments (6303) | Send Message
    Executive Summary:
    The idea that the coal would go to Canada does not recognize a significant issue that I am sure most SA readers do not know about. The rail infrastructure in western Washington state, which is what Burlington Northern would use, is not sufficient to handle the coal train traffic that would be required.
    Currently there are several coal trains per day running up the eastern side of Puget Sound, carrying Wyoming coal to Vancouver BC for export to China. If this is news to you then you are in the very great majority. I live in the area, and there is virtually no recognition among those who oppose the use of this route for coal trains (to the proposed USA export terminal at Cherry Point WA) that it is already an established fact. The opposition is on environmental grounds, including concerns about coal dust pollution. I have personally stood on the embankment cut above the BN rail line and watched the coal trains go by. I can see directly into the coal cars and see their load. There is zero coal dust, I repeat ZERO.
    The real problem with exporting coal through either Vancouver BC or Cherry Point is that the rail infrastructure does not have the capacity to handle the increased rail traffic without significantly disrupting the communities through which the trains would travel. There is also a significant problem with reliability of the rail route. During the winter there are typically multiple closures of this rail line caused by mudslides. I have yet to see BN address these issues.
    13 Feb 2014, 07:53 PM Reply Like
  • Blue Horshoe love Anacot Steel
    , contributor
    Comments (286) | Send Message
    If this is true then why cite one of the reasons as the impacts from "greenhouse gas emissions from combustion of U.S. coal in Asia"? Why hide behind such a ridiculous reason? Burlington Northern could and probably would invest in strengthening infrastructure if the port was approved. This is nothing more than a bunch of liberals feeling good about themselves by doing something than will have no effect at all except to stifle jobs and economic growth in the domestic U.S.A.
    14 Feb 2014, 12:21 AM Reply Like
  • Be Here Now
    , contributor
    Comments (6303) | Send Message
    I don't know how Burlington Northern could add more rails along its current route. In the Seattle area the rails follow the east shoreline of Puget Sound, with in places literally no space between the water on one side and slide-prone cliffs on the other. There is no room to lay parallel tracks.
    My guess is that BN would have to purchase rights of way further to the east, if that were possible, but even then they would run up against the Cascade Range to the east, and would have to bridge the many rivers flowing into Puget Sound. Western Washington is very much not the great plains. However, there is no mention in any of the press releases about this project that there is any consideration for adding rail lines. All the discussion I have read relates to the use of the existing rails only.
    14 Feb 2014, 01:25 AM Reply Like
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