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Fight intensifies over NW coal exports

November 4, 2012 • Business


In this photo taken Oct. 23, 2012, a ship is seen in the distance moored at the BP oil refinery in the Strait of Georgia just beyond the location of a proposed coal exporting terminal in Ferndale, Wash., near Bellingham, Wash. The progressive college town of Bellingham is at the center of one of the fiercest environmental debates in the region: should the Northwest become a hub for exporting U.S. coal to Asia? A proposal to build one of as many as five coal terminals here has divided the town, pitting union and businesses that welcome jobs against environmentalists who worry about coal dust and greenhouse gas emissions. A trade group is running TV ads touting the projects, while numerous cities such as Seattle and Portland are opposing coal trains through their communities. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — The progressive college town of Bellingham, Wash., is known for its stunning scenery, access to the outdoors and eclectic mix of aging hippies, students and other residents. But lately it’s turned into a battleground in the debate over whether the Pacific Northwest should become the hub for exporting U.S. coal to Asia.

Five ports proposed for Washington and Oregon could ship as much as 140 million tons of coal, mostly from the Rockies, where it could travel by rail through communities such as Spokane, Seattle and Eugene, Ore., before being loaded onto ships bound for Asia.

The Cherry Point marine terminal would be the largest coal-export port in the U.S., exporting up to 54 million tons of bulk commodities, mostly coal.

With so much at stake, critics and supporters have intensified their pitches in recent weeks, running TV and radio spots, Login to read more

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