Letter: Stop the coal terminals and you'll stop the trains

July 10, 2013 

Those who would profit from coal exports are coal's loudest and strongest supporters and may distort or lie to advance their agenda. The Associated Press article in the June 24 Herald, "Coal trains to cross state even if no terminals built," unfortunately repeated some lies about whether coal trains will come if no terminals are built in Washington or Oregon.

According to Sightline.org, a Northwest sustainability think tank, proponents of Northwest coal exports argue that resistance to new terminals is futile. They say that if Oregon and Washington ports decline to build coal shipping capacity, U.S. firms will simply export their products from existing facilities in British Columbia. But the truth is that Canadian coal port capacity is limited, and U.S. coal interests desperately need new terminals to reach Asian markets.

In recent years, fewer than 5 million tons of U.S. coal has been exported through ports in Canada. Canadian ports are near capacity. Canadian ports want to promote export of Canadian coal, not U.S. coal. Upgrades will increase Canadian port capacity to 75 million tons. But schemers want to export 117-145 million tons per year of Powder River coal to Asia by routing it through the Tri-Cities and Columbia Gorge. They can't without new U.S. ports.

Say no to coal exports!

LORA RATHBONE, Richland

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