As the U.S. begins to shift away from carbon-emitting, coal-fired power plants, coal producers are gearing up to ship more of the fuel overseas. Ambre Energy and Peabody Energy are leading the push for west coast export terminals that would open the floodgates for a new coal market in Asia. Advocates for clean energy, the environment, and public health and safety have coalesced to oppose these ports on the beautiful Pacific North West coastline.
Coal export terminals continue the mining and burning of coal at a time when phasing out coal is essential to our health, in building new coal export terminals, the U.S. is exporting our problems, our pollution, instead of solving them with clean energy advancements.
The first proposed new port at Longview has already secured a shore permit, and a second port proposal has been announced by Peabody Coal at Cherry Point, Bellingham.
Recent history tells us that West coast coal terminals carry serious financial risk. Two modern coal terminals have already been constructed on the west coast: one at the Port of Portland was built and failed within the 1980s, leaving barely-used equipment that had to be sold. In 2006 a U.S. / Japanese consortium closed their nearly new $150 million terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. The terminal was considered world-class, yet it never made enough money to pay the rent.
The state of Washington has a history of commitment to environmental protection and the permitting process for both proposed ports will not be smooth for the developers. The port proposal at Longview is already subject of legal dispute, while, as the site of five marine oil terminals, Cherry Point has long been under heavy scrutiny by governmental and environmental interests.