Environmental challenge to La. coal terminal settles out of court
Environmental activists targeting a coal export terminal in Louisiana under the Clean Water Act moved to settle out of court Aug. 18 after the facility’s backers agreed to a series of financial and environmental protection obligations.
The parties filed a consent decree on Aug. 18, appealing for a stay to the case under an agreement that United Bulk Terminals Davant, LLC would meet a collection of requirements laid out in the settlement.
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Asian countries are hungry for Montana energy
By ALAN OLSON
At the recent Asia Montana Energy Summit, organized by the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana, two points of emphasis stood out. First, economies in Asia are rapidly expanding but rely on imported energy to supply growing demand.
And second, energy-rich and strategically located Montana stands to benefit greatly by supplying energy to meet a portion of this demand. But in order to realize that opportunity, the United States needs to address transportation constraints and political opposition that have hampered growth in energy exports.
Demand for coal in Asia has increased by 400 percent in the last two decades, and the demand growth curve is only accelerating. Asian imports of coal are projected by the International Energy Agency to increase an additional 65 percent by 2040. Simply put, coal has been the fastest-growing source of energy in the world of late and is projected to continue to grow the fastest in the near term.
Of course, Asian countries are also rapidly expanding renewable capacities as quickly as possible. But without some unforeseen technological breakthrough, renewables can only meet a fraction of the increase in demand that is forecast over the next few decades.
As home to the largest coal reserves in the United States, Montana could benefit greatly from supplying a portion of the coal that the growing Asian market demands. And as the closest coal-producing state to the Pacific Coast, Montana enjoys a competitive advantage in marginally lower transportation costs.
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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.
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Mont. lawmakers push back on West Coast coal opponents
Montana lawmakers have unveiled a pair of bills aimed at pushing back and punishing coal opposition in West Coast states.
The bills come in response to recent setbacks and opposition to coal-related projects in Washington and represent a more aggressive response from state leaders advocating on behalf of Montana’s coal interests.
On the House side, three lawmakers have presented a bill that would allocate $1 million toward “litigation to improve and protect the state’s access to and growth in domestic and international markets for its products and natural resources, including energy and other legislation.”
While not explicit in its text, one of the co-sponsors of the bill recently wrote in an editorial that it is intended to challenge any “attempts by states like Washington to undermine our industries,” specifically mentioning the state’s coal industry. In recent months, Washington and Oregon have proposed bills that would limit each state’s coal consumption, leading to sharp responses from Western coal-producing states like Montana and Wyoming.
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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.”
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