US Coal Exports
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Apr 01 2015

Proposed Coal Export Terminal Receives Key Oregon Permit (Associated Press)

Posted in All News, U.S. Ports

Coal export terminal gets water-quality approval from Oregon

Oregon environmental regulators have ruled that proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River meets state and federal water-quality standards, but the project still faces an adverse ruling from another state agency and questions about its economics in a slumping coal market.

The state Department of Environmental Quality issued a water-quality certification Tuesday to the proposed Coyote Island Terminal at Boardman, The East Oregonian reported.

The terminal would receive coal arriving by rail from Montana and Wyoming and put it on barges.

Downriver, the barges would be offloaded at another terminal, and the coal put on oceangoing vessels, bound for Asia.

Shipments to the Boardman terminal could total 8.8 million tons a year.

The state land department has rejected a permit for the project, saying it could interfere with tribal fishing rights. An appeal hearing is scheduled for December.

Critics have questioned whether the project would break even on a $242 million investment, given slumping coal markets overseas. Last year, the Australian company Ambre Energy sold its North American coal assets to Resource Capital Funds, a private equity firm in Denver, after failing to draw other investors.

The Department of Environmental Quality issued what’s called a 401 Water Quality Certification that the terminal would meet state and federal water quality standards, so long as the developer meets a long list of conditions. For example, the terminal would have to be shut down and appropriate agencies notified if a water-quality problem leads to dead or distressed fish.

Environmentalists have fought the terminal, one of several new proposals for moving fossil fuels from the interior of North America for use on the West Coast or Asia.

The state of Wyoming is prepared to borrow $1 billion to pay for coal exports from the Northwest, and Wyoming and Montana are backing the appeal of the decision handed down by the Oregon Department of State Lands.

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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