US Coal Exports
New! Exports Economic Contributions Report
Mar 31 2015

Asia-Montana Energy Summit Discusses Coal Exports (The Missoulian)

US, Asian, Canadian energy officials to attend Missoula summit

VIPs from five nations will join Montana’s congressional delegation and the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission next month to discuss foreign and domestic energy and what its future holds.

The Asia-Montana Energy Summit on April 29-30 includes some big names in the business, and it leans on Montana’s strong trade ties with China, Japan, South Korea and Canada.

“Our coal goes to the Asian markets, and we already have an agricultural and cultural relationship,” said Robert Seidenschwarz, board chairman for the Montana World Affairs Council. “We want to show what Montana, both resourcewise and with its human capital, has to offer. It has a direct correlation to trade.”

Hosted by the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana and the Montana World Affairs Council, the conference may be the largest of its kind to land in Missoula.

Sessions include trends in the Asian market, the international energy outlook and the future of energy on both a global and regional scale. Topics will explore regulation, emissions, distribution, geopolitics, renewable energy and fossil fuels.

“There will be no lack of controversy,” Seidenschwarz said. “There will be enough opinions and discussions to cover what should be an intelligent conversation of what this future will look like.”

According to the Institute for Energy Research, Montana claims more than 25 percent of the country’s recoverable coal reserves. But exporting that coal to global markets, including Asia, remains controversial.

Coal companies continue to eye the Pacific Northwest as the gateway for coal export terminals to China. But much of that coal would travel by rail through cities and towns along the way, and not everyone is eager to see the commodity reach its destination.

Oregon rejected one company’s plan to build a coal port for export to China. The state has expressed concerns over increased diesel fumes, pollution from coal dust, toxic mercury and climate change.

Even the city of Missoula has weighed in. It recently asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to hold public hearings in Missoula as state officials consider the proposed Otter Creek Mine and its accompanying railroad.

“The key is promoting dialogue,” Seidenschwarz said. “It’s the reason we’ve got so many panelists, so we have people from a number of perspectives, and being sensitive to the world we live in.”

Montana is home to more than coal, and its other offerings will have a seat at the table. The state remains one of the top hydroelectric producers in the country, and it enjoys a burgeoning renewable energy sector.

“We’re doing this to promote Montana first and foremost,” Seidenschwarz said. “There’s a lot of happening behind the scenes when you look at alternative energy and the technology that could lead to productivity gains and innovation.”

See article here.

  • “The President’s National Export Initiative should place greater public emphasis on the role coal exports are playing to help reach the White House’s goal of doubling U.S. exports.”
    — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, January 7, 2014
  • “…we need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America…We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America…We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores”
    — President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010
  • “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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