America’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees the development of approximately 570 million acres where there are coal deposits. Less than 1% of that is currently under development.1 That is about to change. President Donald Trump’s rollback of America’s energy infrastructure takes a giant leap today.
In what may soon be the type of action relegated to history, on November 29 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criticized the U.S. Army Corps draft environmental impact statement for what could be the the largest coal export terminal in North America, “because it fails to consider adverse impacts from the project.” The EPA calls federal review of Longview Coal Terminal inadequate.
There were good reasons to exempt railroads from local control when they were first built across North America, but that has changed. The railways might never have been built, if the had not been protected from a multitude of municipal taxes and regulations. There are different challenges today. The question is whether local communities have a right to decide what projects make sense for them. This is the central issue behind the council vote Tuesday night, when Whatcom County imposed 60 day moratorium on unrefined oil projects.
Two years ago, there were 6 proposed coal port terminals in the Pacific Northwest. That was when Governors Jay Inslee of Washington and John Kitzhaber of Oregon issued a joint statement opposing, “the decisions to continue and expand coal leasing from federal lands and authorize the export of that coal are likely to lead to long-term investments in coal generation in Asia, with air quality and climate impacts in the United States that dwarf almost any other action the federal government could take in the foreseeable future.” Only 2 of those 6 coal projects are still under consideration. Millennium Bulk Terminals is one of seven proposed facilities that could transform the Columbia River into America’s next fossil fuel superhighway. Continue reading America’s Next Fossil Fuel Superhighway→