US Coal Exports
Exports Economic Contributions Report
Apr 04 2013

Coal Exports Help Developing Countries Advance (UPI)

Posted in All News, Asia, China, India

Coal exports save lives here and abroad

Governors of Oregon and Washington asked for unprecedented “life-cycle impact” analysis of five export terminals and the cargo being transported through them.

By TOM TANTON, UPI Outside View Commentator

LINCOLN, Calif., April 4 (UPI) — The governors of Oregon and Washington have asked for unprecedented “life-cycle impact” analysis of five planned export terminals and the cargo being transported through them before the Army Corps of Engineers issue permits.

In particular, the governors have asked that the emissions effects of burning coal outside the United States be evaluated for global climate change impacts. The expanded terminals would export others goods, such as grain to food-starved regions.

Thousands of high-paying construction jobs are at stake in a region where construction jobs are at their lowest point in a decade.

The permitting process for new projects — a process that takes on average 3 1/2 years and way longer than global averages — would become completely unmanageable if the evaluations were expanded to require the type of review the two governors are calling for.

Even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for conducting Environmental Impact Studies, indicated they may not explore a study so unnecessarily broad.

Furthermore, last week the U.S. Senate voted to “expedite exports from the United States through reform of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 in such a manner that greenhouse gas emissions produced outside the Unites States by any good exported from the United States are not subject to the requirements of that Act.”

That same act requires that “alternatives” to projects be evaluated, including the “no project” alternative.

What the governors fail to acknowledge is the probable impacts of the most likely alternative, if the terminals are delayed or stopped due to the expansive of review they call for.

Coal remains an important part of the affordable energy equation in the United States and globally. In 2011, 42 percent of electricity in the United States came from coal, 41 percent globally, and approximately one-third of the Puget Sound’s. Access to affordable energy is essential to energy diversification for U.S. allies.

Modern society’s appetite for electrical power is huge and still growing, while the developing world’s electricity appetite is growing even faster.

As Japan moves away from nuclear, estimates show the Japanese will increase their coal use 50 percent next year. Developing countries in particular need access to affordable, modern energy to improve their quality of life. Providing electricity improves a countries economy, lowers mortality and ultimately leads to more environmentally capable populations as basic subsistence needs are met.

Continued scavenging of wood harms forests and burning kerosene leads to indoor air pollution and high carbon dioxide.

Powder River Basin coal is superior to coal from other potential sources in Asia and definitely superior to burning biomass, kerosene or rainforest products, by any metric. However, those archaic energy forms, or dirtier coal, will be used more if the export terminals are delayed. Poverty is the worst polluter.

In developing countries, women and children spend the better part of their day gathering fuel to cook meals and they are denied nighttime light. Providing them electricity frees them from such drudgery and allows more time in the day — for education and other improvement opportunity. Denying electricity for these people, by denying them access to affordable electricity generating fuels like coal is, frankly, inhumane.

Approval of the terminals and the export of U.S. products serve valuable and necessary global needs. And in doing so, will provide billions of dollars in private investments to grow U.S. exports of other products, such as grain and timber.

Jobs at home and abroad will be created and improve the quality of life everywhere. Greenhouse gas emissions will likely be lower than without the terminals, as other countries rely on dirtier coal and more “traditional” fuels.

They should be approved, without extraordinary analysis not called for under existing law.

(Tom Tanton is president of T² & Associates. Tanton has 40 years of energy and technology policy experience, having served as principal policy adviser at the California Energy Commission and general manager at Electric Power Research Institute.)

See article here.


  • “The fact that we’re no longer in the age of energy scarcity – that we’re in the age of energy abundance – positions the United States in a totally different place. This gives access to affordable, reliable energy in the United States, and gives the U.S. a major competitive advantage.”
    – Dave Banks, Special Assistant to President Donald Trump for International Energy, June 2017
  • “It is in the national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation. Moreover, the prudent development of these natural resources is essential to ensuring the Nation's geopolitical security.”
    – Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, March 28, 2017
  • “Historically, U.S. companies seeking to expand their revenues focused first on increasing their number and share of U.S customers. For years, this focus served as a winning strategy for many of the most successful U.S. companies. Today, global economic trends make clear that successful companies are those that reach and sell to consumers outside U.S. borders and around the globe.”
    — 2011 National Export Strategy, U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee
  • “Federal regulatory agencies should not require climate change studies in the course of their permitting processes for proposed facilities. Coal will be consumed around the world regardless of U.S. trade policy. The only question is whether the coal is produced here in North America, where environmental standards are high, or elsewhere.”
    — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, January 7, 2014
  • “At present 19% of the world’s population, 1.3 billion people, lack access to electricity and on New Policy Scenario projections there will still be 1 billion people without such access in 2030. To meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015, 395 million more people need access to electricity. There is a strong correlation between electrification and improvement in the United Nations’ Human Development Index.”
    — International Energy Agency, Coal Industry Advisory Board
  • “Access to electricity is strongly correlated with every measurable indicator of human development”
    — Berkeley Science Review, 2008

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