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Northwest Coal Train Fight – The Modern Day Spotted Owl | FreedomWorks

Northern_Spotted_Owl.USFWS-thumb

For the past several years, coal industry officials have been attempting to secure approval to ship coal from Pacific Northwest ports to expanding markets in Asia. This would entail approval

English: Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidenta...

English: Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). Six Rivers National Forest, NW California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to increase rail shipments from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana to new or greatly expanded terminals in Washington and Oregon. Industry officials state that this would bring thousands of living wage jobs to the region, giving a shot in the arm to an area of the country where the industrial and manufacturing base has lagged for many years, and where the unemployment rate consistently ranks above the national average.

These new terminals are opposed by a wide swath of environmental groups who have made the coal train cause the modern day equivalent of the Spotted Owl fight that decimated the natural resources industries in Oregon in the 90s. This comparison is appropriate, because the fight against coal trains, if successful, will deny economic opportunity to thousands of Pacific Northwest families, and is equally based in faulty or misleading science.

The Powder River Basin (PRB) is the largest coal mining area in the United States. PRB coal is noted for its low sulfur and ash content, meaning that it burns much cleaner than Appalachian coal. The basin also contains major deposits of petroleum, methane and uranium – in other words, it’s one of those naturally occuring areas of economic potential, like the Bakken Formation, that make other countries jealous of us. Around 50% of domestic electricity production comes from coal, and 40% of that is powered by PRB coal. In addition to firing our domestic production, as developing economies in Asia grow, they are looking for affordable options for powering their electrical grids. The price per kilowatt hour to produce electricity from coal is a fraction of the cost of most other sources (excluding natural gas), making it an attractive choice for emerging economies.

Coal cars in Ashtabula, Ohio (taken Sept. 26, ...

Coal cars in Ashtabula, Ohio (taken Sept. 26, 2004) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So if it’s a cleaner burning coal and it lowers costs for consumers, why would environmentalists oppose it?

The short answer is that they’ve waged a war on coal, and they want to kill the industry altogether.

Read the rest of this post at FreedomWorks:

Northwest Coal Train Fight – The Modern Day Spotted Owl | FreedomWorks.

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2 Comments

  1. MaxRedline's Gravatar MaxRedline
    April 29, 2013    

    It’s worth noting, as I frequently have, that not only is PRB coal seemingly limitless in terms of abundance, it is also the “cleanest” coal on the planet. The opposition from professional alarmists is counterproductive not only in that it would deny economic benefits to people in the Pacific Northwest, but their dog-in-the-manger approach (we’re not going to burn it, but nobody else can, either) guarantees that China, India, South Korea, Japan, and other countries will purchase “dirtier” coal from elsewhere.

    The Pacific Northwest will receive the emissions from those plants in any case; the choice is whether we receive low-sulfur emissions, from PRB coal or high-sulfur emissions from coal acquired elsewhere. High-sulfur emissions, it may be recalled, are associated with increased acidity in precipitation (acid rain, acid snow). Moreover, PRB coal is also low in mercury; coal from other sources is substantially higher in mercury content.

    The professional alarmists are, therefore, demanding that there be no jobs in the Pacific Northwest related to the movement of PRB coal while insisting that we accept significantly greater environmental effects due to heightened sulfur and mercury emissions.

    • admin's Gravatar admin
      April 29, 2013    

      My best friend from college is fond of pointing out that those who oppose trading our natural resources with other countries and helping them achieve economic freedom have the greatest negative effect on emerging economies in countries with brown people. It is classic institutional racism, and they go absolutely apoplectic when you call them on it.

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