Letter: Governors' opposition to coal exports won't reduce carbon or help economy

April 26, 2013 

Recently, Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber wrote to the President's Council on Environmental Quality asking that major new construction in our ports for the purpose of exporting American coal to Asia be, in essence, stopped.

The governors believe we must halt coal exports to prevent East Asia from using American coal to produce electricity. But, really they are seeking to prevent our coal from emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Asian economies are growing. China's 2012 gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a rate of 7.75 percent vs. U.S. GDP at 1.7 percent.

Asia will continue to demand energy, and in Asia that means coal. If we won't sell coal, Russia will. Their exports to China will increase by 5 million tons this year.

Ports delivering coal overseas create thousands of American jobs; our rail system will improve its infrastructure, grow, and provide jobs; and nations buying our coal will see improved standards of living, making them better markets for our goods and services.

I want to know how the governors propose to help the economy if we can't export coal. Their false sense of environmental moral superiority won't reduce carbon dioxide levels and won't create jobs at home.

PATRICK D. MCBURNEY, Kennewick

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