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Lady of the lake, version #938

Monday, May 11, 2015

Interstate pissing match



Wyoming mines a lot of coal. That state wants the good people of Oregon to build a coal export terminal on the Columbia River in Portland so that they in turn can ship their coal to China and elsewhere. The State of Oregon has rejected the terminal for a variety of reasons, one principal reason being the potential impact on its fisheries.

Wyoming refuses to take no for an answer and is challenging the rulings as interference with interstate commerce, trying to force the Oregonians to build the plant. The timing on this one may not be so good, China's coal imports have fallen 42% in the past year.

The Oregon Department of State Lands says the terminal would destroy nearby fisheries, but Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says that by rejecting the permit, Oregon violated a provision of the Constitution known as the interstate commerce clause.  He is going to keep fighting with bulldog determination to force the coast state's hand.
CHEYENNE — Gov. Matt Mead is pledging to keep fighting "with bulldog determination" for the future of Wyoming coal.
Mead told Wyoming legislators in his state of the state address Wednesday that he has never seen an onslaught against a single industry like what he described as the Barack Obama administration's anti-coal agenda.
Mead, a Republican sworn in last week to his second consecutive term, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has had "a green light to go after the coal industry, and six years later coal is still targeted by federal regulators."
Wyoming is the nation's largest coal-producing state, but demand for coal has sagged in recent years in the face of stricter federal power plant pollution regulations and cheaper natural gas.
"In coming years, I will continue to work with bulldog determination on coal initiatives, port expansion, new technology and value-added products," Mead said. "And in coming years, we don't need to let up, we need to double down. We must assure coal's continuity."
Mead said he will keep pressing for access to Pacific coast ports so Wyoming can export its coal overseas. Both Wyoming and Montana are appealing a recent rejection by the state of Oregon of an energy company's proposal to build a coal terminal on the Columbia River.
In its appeal, Wyoming's attorney general argues that the state will lose out on $10 to $30 million in tax revenue each year if the terminal isn’t permitted. University of Wyoming law professor Sam Kalen says, historically, cases invoking the commerce clause have only been successful if they can show that one state is discriminating against another state for its own economic benefit. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that one state can turn another state into a garbage dump.

To those of you keeping score at home, this is the fourth proposed fossil fuel terminal to go down in Oregon. Sucks to be landlocked, Wyoming, maybe you could try Canada? Kind of strange to be trying to bully and muscle another state around. Good for you, Oregon.


I was searching around for info on the topic and found this site, Champions for change. Read this one:
Energy wars are nothing new in the West, but the latest round of salvos has taken on a toxic nature. Coal states are unhappy with the high-horse attitude of coastal states, whereas environmentalists think coal producers are playing dumb on the product’s effect on the environment. It’s a tug-of-war reminiscent of the endless, tiresome political battles fought in the nation’s capital.
Even with wind farms and hydroelectric dams, Oregon and Washington – the two states that have been most vocal on the fight against coal-exporting terminals – still rely on coal-fired power for their residents. For Washington, coal accounts for about 15 percent of power, while about a third of electricity in Oregon comes from coal.
No one can reasonably argue that coal is a particularly “clean” source of energy, and left-wing environmentalist factions don’t hesitate to point out its shortcomings. But, if coal is truly going to be phased out for use in America, why not ease up on exports to countries whose rulers aren’t quite to(sic) fastidious about the environment?

4 comments:

Jon Harwood said...

Follow the money, or in this case, just stroll toward the gigantic rising tower of black smoke.

Max Hall said...

Just a side note. It's funny how little you hear about the radioactive seep that is in the ground water surrounding the San Onofre nuclear reactors.

Blue Heron said...

It's just like Teflon, Max. You live long enough with it in your body and you hardly notice it.

Max Hall said...

True Blue, except for the lemon sized tumor I had removed from my neck, type 2 diabetes (pesticides?), and skin cancer (thinner atmosphere?). The corporate scientists are way out in front of the regulatory agencies and research as you've already said.