Coal exports: stop the “Death by a Thousand Studies”

NW Spotlight_thb

by NW Spotlight

The debate over the proposed export terminals in the Northwest still rages on  with backers of the project vowing to construct the most environmentally, protective, state-of-the-art, shipping terminals and opponents, mainly progressive environmentalists and their allies, vowing to use any method possible to delay and kill the terminals.

Good jobs and economic growth cannot wait for drawn out studies and permitting processes because groups of environmentalists are using false science and data to scare residents. Trains have been running through the Northwest for decades and only recently have environmental groups begun to attack them for the alleged coal dust that emits from the trains. 

Now these groups and their allies want to use the Federal government to study the potential effects on global warming from American exports once they leave the US. This has major negative implications on other products and markets exported from the United States. As the Albany Democrat Herald says – this is a lose-lose coal policy.

With vast amount of coal reserves domestically, and a growing need in the Asian markets–coal exports make sense.  Asia will be burning coal regardless; if they do not get it from us, they will get it from somewhere else. The result?  The United States loses out on jobs and billions in investments in communities that are economically depressed.

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Posted by at 07:00 | Posted in Energy, Natural Resources | 7 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    There is an opinion piece yesterday in the Oregonian which I mostly disagree with but I do think it does have some merit in the particular case of Oregon helping export Powder River Basin coal (Wyoming-Montana). I think it is probably viable to implement a terminal tax on the export of these coals, as this particular coal is very inexpensive relative to other world coal supplies. The tax revenues resulting from such a new tax on new economic activity could flow to environmental offsets. Oregon could have both extra economic activity, and for communities in need of new economic activity, and have a new source of public revenue.

    I disagree with the opinion piece because it believes more government regulation would lower energy prices, such as gasoline and even electricity. This is not the actual experience of the last 20 years. Government regulation of refining has resulted in balkanizing the gasoline supply, such that economies of scale in refining have been reduced leading to higher (than otherwise) gasoline prices. In the electricity industry, government interference and a record drought hitting hydro electricity supplies actually caused a large part of the western electricity crisis of the years 2000/2001. What’s more state public utility commissions actually ensure electric utilities make ten percent or more on the monies they invest in plant and electric system via higher electricity rates, a pretty good return in today’s investment market of nearly zero interest rates. It’s the old case of the regulated taking over the regulator, a systemic problem of over governance/ over regulation.

    • DavidAppell

      You have to love the Pacific Northwest — already they have some of the lowest electricity prices in the country, but still they whine and want it cheaper. There really is no end to greed.

      • both obscene coalescing

        Got governmentium in your PERS?

  • DavidAppell

    …because groups of environmentalists are using false science and data to scare residents.

    Easy to say; not easy to prove. And the author here, whoever he or she is, doesn’t even try. Typical — it’s easier to just insinuate. Lazy.

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