Coal export restrictions hurt Montana’s economy
Some cities along rail routes in Montana are trying to limit coal-train traffic, citing concerns about quality of life, traffic congestion and coal dust. At issue are two proposed coal export terminals in Washington that, if approved, would ramp up coal rail shipments from southeastern Montana to the west coast for export to Asian markets.
Last week, the Missoula City Council passed a resolution asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand the scope of its environmental review of the Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, Wash., more than 500 miles away. The city council wants the agency to consider the impacts of increased coal-rail traffic moving through Missoula. City officials in Helena have also expressed similar concerns over the proposed export terminal.
If successful, the economic consequences of Missoula’s resolution — which ultimately aims to prevent Montana coal from ever reaching a western port — are obvious enough. But as we witnessed on our recent trip with several state representatives to the Crow Nation, such restrictions would be a crushing blow to the impoverished tribe.
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Millennium Export Terminal right for Washington
BY KAREN HARBERT AND TOM PIERSON
As representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – the world’s largest business organization – and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, our focus is always on job creation and economic growth. That’s why we support this critical project.
The Millennium project will take a dormant piece of land and turn it into a bustling, state of the art port terminal. The Terminal makes good on the promise of expanding our markets and selling more American products to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers that don’t live in America. Increased exports are a key component of America’s economic recovery, which is why in 2010 President Obama committed to doubling exports by 2015.
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Local exports lucrative for W.Va. economy
We’ve all heard the talk about needing to compete in the global economy.
Apparently, state companies and leaders have been listening.
Statistics show the Mountain State’s global exports are growing stronger, with a 25 percent growth noted from 2011 to 2012.
As Staff Writer Roger Adkins reported in Monday’s edition, West Virginia exported goods or natural resources to 136 countries in 2012. The costs of those exports were $11.3 billion, an increase of $2.3 billion over the previous year.
And state officials expect the future to be brighter.
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Rahall: WRRDA to Support Job Growth (USA)
The House of Representatives has approved a major infrastructure investment bill authored by the leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which strengthens the water transportation network that West Virginia coal exports and jobs depend upon. H.R. 3080, “The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013,” authorizes significant investment in the Nation’s network of inland waterways and U.S. ports to promote the efficient movement of coal and other commodities.
The bipartisan bill was crafted collaboratively by U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the full Committee, and U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, the top Democrat on the Committee, and passed the House by a vote of 417 to 3.
“When most people think about how our coal gets moved from the mines out to the markets, they immediately think of freight rail,” said Rahall. “While we certainly fill up our fair share of hopper cars, we are just as dependent on our Nation’s system of inland waterways and our network of ports for the transport of coal throughout the country and, indeed, the world. This legislation, approved by the House, authorizes needed funding for the modernization of these watery corridors of commerce so that our commodities can reach overseas markets efficiently and support job growth in our state.”
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Senators urge Obama administration to limit rules on coal exports
Six US senators Wednesday pressed the Obama administration to limit the impact looming changes to federal environmental review rules may have on coal exports.
In a letter sent to Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and Nancy Sutley, chairman of the Council of Environmental Quality, the senators urged the administration to limit the expansion of National Environmental Policy Act reviews, which they claim could hurt US coal exports.
The letter was signed by Republicans David Vitter of Louisiana, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Democrats Joe Manchin of Wyoming and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
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