January 30, 2018 Read More →

U.S. Coal Producers Continue ‘Long-Shot’ Bid to Approve New West Coast Export Terminals

Reuters:

The ailing U.S. coal industry is ramping up its political and legal offensive to win approval for West Coast export terminals that could provide a lifeline to lucrative Asia markets.

Coal producers filed two recent lawsuits against governments in Washington state and California challenging local decisions to block port projects on environmental grounds. The industry is also lobbying the Trump administration to override the local bans.

The fight reflects the sector’s desperation to boost exports as U.S. utilities continue their shift away from coal-fired power – despite Trump policies aimed at helping miners.

The proposed port projects are crucial to industry growth, said Hal Quinn, president of the National Mining Association.

“It’s worth fighting these battles,” he said.

The strategy could be a long-shot. Courts have tended in the past to side with local authorities in similar cases, and the administration’s policy options for forcing coal infrastructure on unwilling local governments remain unclear.

Officials at the White House and Department of Energy did not respond to requests for comment.

The coal industry has eyed the West Coast as a gateway to the global market for years, with plans for as many as seven terminals on the books a decade ago. But five of those projects were canceled amid volatile Asian demand and bitter opposition in left-leaning California, Washington, and Oregon.

More: Coal firms plead to courts, Trump for West Coast export terminals

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