06.01.2012 2

There are no winners in the war on coal

By Rebekah Rast — Recently the Seattle City Council unanimously passed Resolution 31379, opposing the development of coal-export terminals in Washington State.

These terminals would use local railroads for transporting coal to the shore to be shipped overseas, mainly to Asian markets.

However, according to the Associated Press, “mining and burning more coal isn’t consistent with the city’s goal to fight climate change,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, sponsor of the Seattle resolution. So the council voted the resolution down.

After all, we wouldn’t want any coal dust or pollution to hit the air of Seattle would we?

The coal mined in Wyoming and Montana, specifically in the Powder River Basin, which is the coal that would be transported to Asia, is considered low-sulfur and low-ash coal.  Meaning, often times this coal doesn’t have to go through a rigorous process to comply with the Clean Air Act.  It doesn’t emit near as much carbon or sulfur as other types of coal mined elsewhere in the U.S. and world.

Funny how sometimes those of the radical environmentalist mindset forget the world includes more than just the U.S. The coal burned in Asia is going into the air Americans breathe as well.  Wouldn’t a true environmentalist want all nations to have healthy, clean air?

The World Coal Association highlights that about 80 percent of electricity generated in China comes from coal.  If the U.S. decides, as the Seattle City Council did, that coal will not be exported through its state to another nation, it will not have an impact on China’s coal use. The country will simply import it from somewhere else.

Again, from an environmental standpoint, wouldn’t it be better for China, a country more dependent on coal than the U.S., to burn a cleaner variety of American-based coal than one that emits much more carbon and sulfur?

Either way, China will burn the coal, and Wyoming and Montana will find customers.

This battle has nothing to do with the environment but everything to do with a gutting a vital domestic industry, despite what Seattle City Council Member O’Brien says.

Should the U.S. become adamant about not exporting coal from Wyoming and Montana to other nations, and if the government continues its war on coal here in the U.S., then no one wins.

“The City Council is full of hot air. To fight what it calls the ‘serious impacts’ of the discredited man-made climate change hoax, the City Council has seen fit to pass a resolution condemning the Rocky Mountain coal industry and the railroads that deliver the coal to the Pacific for overseas export,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “They are declaring war in effect on these coal-producing states, as well as the workers who would be employed at the port to ship the coal. All this in a misguided attempt stop the burning of coal that will take place anyway.”

If the U.S. government follows in the footsteps of the Seattle City Council soon we will lose what was once a vibrant, productive industry.  Meanwhile, the rest of the world will continue to burn coal.

This is a lose-lose situation for everyone — the environmentalist, American workers and the world.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com.  You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.

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