The New Frontier in Challenging Coal:
Preventing Massive Coal Exports to Asia
We're making progress in ending America's dependence on dirty coal and in enhancing clean energy development. We've prevented the construction of 150 new coal plants across the U.S. and are ramping up work to retire the oldest and dirtiest plants, all while encouraging development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Big Coal threatens this progress with new plans to further tear up our land and poison our air and water by shipping millions of tons of U.S. coal to be burned in Asia instead.
On this map, you can see all the points of interest for this dirty coal development - from mines in the Powder River Basin, the rail lines that would carry the coal, and the possible ports for export terminal development.
The Conduit for Coal Exports - the Pristine Pacific Northwest
Australian based Ambre Energy, and their partners Millennium Bulk Logistics and Arch Coal, want to ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming along railroads through the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. They seek to build massive terminals in Washington to unload the coal and ship to markets in Asia.
We uncovered that Ambre Energy mislead the local community and decision-makers about the Longview, WA, port development, saying they only planned to ship 5 million tons of coal a year. In truth, their intentions are to ship at least 25 million tons and up to 60 million tons a year from Longview. The company misrepresented its intentions and deliberately attempted to hide the true size of the project from the community. Through our organizing and legal challenges with our allies, Millennium Bulk Logistics withdrew their permit to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement that reflects the true volume of coal they intend to export. This was a small victory, but the project is far from over. Read more about this development here.
Ambre Energy and their partners are trying to move as quickly as they can to obtain their permits, including a possible lease of space at the Port of Morrow along the Columbia River in Oregon to unload coal from trains onto barges to ship downriver.
Ambre Energy isn't the only bad actor in this coal exports saga. Beautiful Puget Sound and surrounding communities also face threats from Peabody Coal and SSA Marine, other companies seeking to develop a coal export terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham, Washington. The Sierra Club is working with local leaders and our allies there to raise awareness about the threats to health, public safety, and economic development from SSA Marine's and Peabody's plans. Read more.
Coal anywhere harms communities everywhere. Through organizing and legal efforts with our allies in communities around the region, we can prevent these dirty developments and impact global dependence on coal.
February 14, 2011: New York Times
In Northwest, a Clash Over a Coal Operation
February 4, 2011: The Wall Street Journal
Coal Foes Play China Card
January 5, 2011: The Daily News
Coal terminal opponents grill Montana governor at commissioners' meeting
December 15, 2010: Crosscut
Should Longview help China burn more coal?
December 15, 2010: Platts Coal Trader
Coal terminal seen as a test case for West Coast ports
December 14, 2010: Coal & Energy Price Report
Greens grit teeth, gird to fight West Coast terminal, but Longview is bullish
December 13, 2010: E&E News
Groups move to block proposed Wash. export facility
December 13, 2010: Associated Press
Groups fight decision allowing Asia coal exports
November 21, 2010: The New York Times
Nations That Debate Coal Use Export It to Feed China's Need
Photos by Paul Shively