The Left has been fighting for years to kill proposals to build export terminals in Washington State which, while creating jobs and providing millions of dollars in economic benefits here, could be used to ship coal overseas. News out of Southwest Washington shows that the effort to meet the needs of overseas markets for U.S. commodities – including coal – is still alive.
According to the Longview Daily News, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday morning released a massive draft environmental study of the proposed $680 million Longview coal terminal that, at least in one respect, should give coal champions a sense of relief. It concluded that the project will not impinge on tribal fishing rights, an issue that killed another coal project in Whatcom County in Northwest Washington earlier this year.”
The federal report stood in contrast with the state’s own multi-thousand page environmental assessment, which had sought (in an unprecedented regulatory move) to kill the project by trying to assign blame to the Longview facility for the global impacts of its activities. Instead, “the federal analysis does not estimate how much greenhouse gas emissions would result from actually burning the 44 million metric tons of coal shipped from the terminal annually. The corps analysis is limited to the gases contributed by terminal operations only. Nor did it consider coal dust emissions from trains along the route from coal mines in Wyoming and Montana to Longview.”
This rational approach, of course, offended the sensibilities of the green groups trying to stop economic development. “‘The corps drew a box around the terminal site and ignored all other impacts,’ ” said one activist leader. Of course, that is exactly how the regulatory process is supposed to work, to assess the environmental impact of a project in the area it is being built, and not be expanded to meet the political needs of interest groups.
The fight will continue over Millennium, and as the paper noted “supporters of the plant Friday decried that the permitting process is taking so long, noting that Millennium first filed for permits more four years ago. ‘Four years ago, our brothers and sisters in the Longview labor community were excited at the prospect of new family wage jobs in a community that sees little new job growth. Today, they and their families continue to wait because the regulatory reviews continue on without end,’ Willy Myers, executive secretary for the Columbia Pacific Building Trades, said in a prepared statement.”
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