Battle Over World's Coal Supply on Track to Go Right Through Spokane

image from www.treehugger.comPhoto by Paul K Anderson

It's seems a little strange to be talking about coal as an issue in the clean hydro-and-wind-abundant state of Washington. After all, lawmakers recently passed legislation that will make us the first state to be free from coal-fired energy. But a coal battle is brewing around the potential of Washington ports becoming major outlets for shipping Wyoming's Powder-River-Basin coal to China. According to the Wyoming's Trib:

Peabody Energy has completed a deal to ship Powder River Basin coal to Asia via a planned export terminal in northwest Washington.The deal with Seattle-based SSA Marine will allow St. Louis-based Peabody to ship up to 24 million metric tons of coal per year via the Gateway Pacific Terminal near Ferndale, Wash.The port would be Peabody’s West Coast hub for exporting Powder River Basin coal to Asian markets, Peabody said in a media release Monday.

Another coal export terminal proposed in Longview in southwest Washington has drawn environmental opposition. That Millennium Bulk Logistics terminal would be a joint venture between Australia-based Ambre Energy and St. Louis mining giant Arch Coal Inc.

The problem for Spokane is that our abundance of railroad tracks would serve as the major artery to transport the uncovered coal cars, with their clouds of toxic dust, to the coast.

Leaders in Spokane are mobilizing to keep the coal trains out of Spokane and are hosting a gathering next week:

What:  Spokane Happy Hour event to learn more about Coal Hard Truth
When: Tuesday, August 23rd 6-8 p.m.
Where:  Rooftop of the Saranac Building, downtown Spokane, 25 W. Main (http://bit.ly/qRP4Y3)