The Columbia River town of Boardman, Oregon, is a real-life example of the gulf between President Obama's grand strategy to reduce coal emissions and the reality behind that policy: As the U.S. reduces its own carbon pollution, it is exporting more of it abroad.
The Northwest's largest proposed coal export terminal would provide a significant jobs boost for Whatcom County, where it would be built. But there would be a negative impact on the central Puget Sound region's economy, according to a new study.
A review board recommends that the state of Oregon spend $4 millions to help expand a controversial crude oil and coal export dock at the Port of St. Helens near Clatskanie, Oregon.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead tours a proposed coal export terminal on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Facilities like this are needed to get Wyoming coal to Asian markets.
The Oregon Department of State Lands has delayed until August its permitting decision on a controversial coal export dock on the Columbia River. The decision was expected by May 31.
The governor of Wyoming is heading to Washington state to push for access to ocean ports to allow coal exports to Asia.
An Oregon coal export developer is challenging claims that its proposed dock on the Columbia River would interfere with tribal fishing sites.
Dozens of elected officials from across the region are asking Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and a state agency director to deny a key permit for a coal export project on the Columbia River.
A study released by coal export opponents claims a project on the Columbia River carries more than $2 billion in environmental and economic risks.
The state of Oregon tells developers of the Morrow Pacific coal export project that they will need to lease submerged state land in the Columbia River -- which requires additional permits beyond those already required.
The Washington Department of Ecology, a co-lead agency in the review of the Millennium Bulk Terminals, announces what they'll study in the Environmental Impact Statement for the project.
Leases for coal mining on public land cost taxpayers millions because they should be worth much more, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. They could be more costly if Northwest coal export terminals get built.
A secret recording of a pro-coal spokeswoman has led to a changing of the guard at the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, a front group for the proponents of coal exports in the Northwest.
The number of comments on the Millennium coal export terminal proposed for Longview, Wash. exceeds the 125,000 comments received on the Gateway Pacific coal export project in Bellingham, Wash., earlier this year.
Across the Northwest, agencies have collected more than 200,000 public comments on controversial coal export and oil-by-rail projects. What exactly happens to all those comments?
After months of back-and-forth between coal company Ambre Energy and the Oregon Department of State Lands, the permitting has been further delayed for a Columbia River coal export project.
We snagged a prize at the 2013 Online Journalism Awards for Best Explanatory Reporting (Small) for our coverage of [Coal in the Northwest](http://earthfix.info/coal "").
About a thousand people turned out for a six-hour hearing on the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export project Wednesday.
As October rains upon us, a round up some of the big news and great reports from our team and from other outlets in September.
A series of public hearings on the Millennium coal export project in Longview, Wash. begin Tuesday. Those hearings get underway as new rules in China and declining coal prices worldwide are raising questions about whether the project will pan out.
Public documents reveal concerns raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the not-so-distant past about how transporting coal by rail could pollute sensitive wetlands in the Northwest.
Members of Congress want to help the Army Corps cut costs and speed up environmental reviews on infrastructure projects like those proposed for coal exports in the Northwest.
Cue the break up music. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington Department of Ecology are no longer preparing a joint environmental impact statement for a proposed coal export terminal on the Washington side of the Columbia River.
The public comment period for the second largest coal export terminal proposed in the Northwest starts August 16.
Western Washington's Lummi Nation submitted a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers Friday formalizing its opposition to what would be the Northwest's largest coal export terminal.
The West Coast's biggest proposed coal export terminal will face stiff environmental scrutiny. Regulators say they will consider climate change, human health and the environment when it comes to a coal port near Bellingham, Wash. And they'll look at the entire route from Western mines to coal-burning plants in Asia.
An energy giant recently walked away from a coal export deal on the lower Columbia River. But the pursuit of venues where ships can load up on Asia-bound coal is not over. Could the Port of Vancouver some day trade in coal? It's not out of the question.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is taking public comments on the Morrow Pacific Project. The department has hearings scheduled for July 9 in Hermiston and Portland, Ore.
The Northwest is square in the middle of a controversial global debate over proposed coal export projects. A new KCTS 9/EarthFix documentary examines the complex issues surrounding the debate.
A coalition of environmental groups in Washington and Oregon has sued BNSF Railway and several coal companies, alleging trains are dumping coal in violation of the Clean Water Act.
A dozen Northwest groups file a legal petition with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They want the corps to study the environmental impacts of transporting coal from mines in Montana and Wyoming to export terminals on Puget Sound and the Columbia River.
A proposed deal on a Montana coal mine that supporters said would boost Asian exports of the fuel via the West Coast has stalled.
Coal giant Kinder Morgan is abandoning its plans to export coal from a terminal at the Port of St. Helens on the Columbia River.
The last investor in the proposed coal export terminal for the southern Oregon coast has pulled out of the deal. It's the second time a coastal site for such a development in the Northwest has lost its backers.
An Australian coal company has asked for more time to answer questions from the State of Oregon about its plans for a coal port in Boardman.
Scott Higgins is mayor of Camas, Wash., a town that would see more coal trains if proposed Northwest coal export terminals are approved. Although it's been a divisive issue, Higgins is walking a tightrope, saying he's neither for nor against transporting coal through his town.
A proposed coal export terminal in Coos Bay, Ore., would route coal trains just 100 feet from Richard and Tonya Burkholder’s home and business. They say they would welcome the trains as part of an economic boost to their coastal community.
Jay Julius is a fisherman and a member of the Lummi Nation tribal council. Lummi people have lived on the shores of Puget Sound north of Bellingham for thousands of years. Not far from their reservation lies Cherry Point, the proposed site for the largest coal export terminal in North America.
Should coal from Wyoming and Montana be transported through the Pacific Northwest and shipped to Asia? In our multimedia special, “Voices of Coal” we bring you nine diverse perspectives from people across the region with a stake in that debate.
Robbie Robinson lives near the BNSF rail yard in Spokane, Wash. Robinson suffers from asthma and allergies. She says her breathing problems got worse when she moved to Spokane from a rural area.
Robert Hill conducts some of the coal trains that travel through the Northwest. To him, concerns about coal dust and noise from coal trains are overblown. He knows more coal will mean more jobs like his at BNSF Railway.
Mark Lowry is a transit operator who worries family-wage jobs like his are hard to come by. As the leader of a regional labor council, a proposal to build the West Coast's largest coal export terminal is a source of hope.
Wyoming's governor wants the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal on its own.
Calls for tighter oversight of federal coal leases could impact the future of five coal export terminals proposed for the Pacific Northwest. Here are 10 things you should know about the federal coal leasing program in the Powder River Basin.
Sen. Ron Wyden wants to know if taxpayers are receiving their fair share of royalties from coal mined on public land and headed overseas -- possibly through the Pacific Northwest in the future.
Opponents of a railroad that would open Montana's coal fields to new mining want federal officials to halt their review of the proposal. They allege the project is much larger than disclosed and would have impacts all the way to the West Coast.
Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski are asking the U.S. Department of Interior to review whether companies are shortchanging federal and state governments out of millions of dollars in royalties on coal exported to foreign markets.
Officials from the US Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Ecology hear public comment in Seattle this afternoon about a plan to build the largest coal export terminal on the West Coast near Bellingham. EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn joins KUOW's "Weekday" with details.
About 700 people gathered Wednesday night to comment on a coal export terminal that could be built near Bellingham, Wash.
For some, the possibility of taking coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin via train to export terminals along the West coast, to then be shipped to Asian markets, is such an emotional issue that it can no longer be discussed in polite company. For others, it's dinner conversation.
An environmental group opposed to coal in the Northwest has released its own modeling of air pollution associated with one of the region's five proposed export terminals for coal bound to Asia. The group’s data show total air emissions would exceed the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Oregon Department of State Lands is adding a third public comment period for one of the permits the Morrow Pacific coal export project needs to build a terminal in Boardman, Oregon.
The fight over a coal export terminal proposed near Bellingham, Wash., is heating up, as hundreds turned out Saturday for the first of several public hearings on the project.
The port developer proposing a $665 million coal export terminal at Cherry Point released a report Tuesday saying it would contribute $7 million a year in property taxes and create hundreds of jobs which would add millions more in sales tax revenue.
Take a ride with scientists as they try to unlock the secret underwater lives of Puget Sound's orcas, and find out how ship traffic might be affecting whale behavior. We've also got updates on wave power developments, coal exports, water pollution from dairy farms - and more.
The Lummi Nation in northwestern Washington is about to join other native people in the region who oppose plans to export coal through the Pacific Northwest.
Portland is exploring its power to regulate the coal industry as the business looks to expand in the Northwest. If the city council passes a resolution currently under consideration, it would join the ranks of at least twenty local governments that have passed similar resolutions.
One of the Portland area's top elected officials has ordered a study on the health impacts of coal dust and diesel emissions. The study comes as Portland, Seattle, and other Northwest cities consider the possibility of trains passing through, delivering tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming to be shipped across the Pacific.
This week hear the sounds of Wyoming coal country, and find out how life there connects to life here in the Northwest. Host Ashley Ahearn explores the largest open pit mine in the world, visits with one rancher who's concerned about the effects of coal mining - and then heads to Bellingham, Washington to check out the proposed site of what could one day be the largest coal export terminal on the West coast.
Rep. Peter DeFazio says he has few qualms about shipping coal to Asia through the Port of Coos Bay.
RailAmerica has told the Port of Grays Harbor on the Washington coast that it is no longer interesting in developing a terminal to export coal.
When Gunvor, one of the world's largest energy traders, invested $400 million in a troubled Montana coal mine, it looked like a promising deal. But shipping coal to the Asia Pacific region was not as straightforward as it seemed.
Country music, pickup trucks and dirt roads this week as EarthFix heads to coal country. Ashley Ahearn and Katie Campbell get "coal-curious" with Dustin Bleizeffer, an energy reporter from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. Bleizeffer has been covering the region known as "The Nation's Energy Capital" for more than 10 years.
A campaign is kicking off in the Northwest to build support for coal exports.
A new public opinion poll for EarthFix finds a majority of residents in Washington, Oregon and Idaho support transporting coal from Wyoming and Montana through the Northwest so it can be exported to Asia. The biggest segment of this group says it's somewhat, rather than strongly, supportive.
A critical assessment of industry's plans to haul coal through the Northwest warns that huge increases in train traffic could tie up existing rail lines, spew coal dust across several states and force communities to help cover billions of dollars in improvements.
RICHLAND, Wash. - This week crews are cleaning up about 30 train cars full of coal that overturned near Mesa in Eastern Washington. The accident has raised questions about proposed increased train shipments of coal through the nearby Columbia River Gorge.
Tsunami debris and invasive stowaways, logging roads and water pollution, coal in the Northwest and loud motorcycles - this week on the EarthFix podcast.
Here’s your guide to coal in the Northwest: The latest on where the terminals are proposed and how increased train traffic may affect communities along way.
The Columbia River town of Camas, Wash. is succeeding at building a reputation as a tourist destination. But some residents worry their community could develop a new reputation: as a pass-through town for noisy, dusty coal trains.
The Seattle City Council is voting to oppose coal exports through Washington. Increasingly, politicians are questioning or flat-out opposing such activity in the Northwest, where there are proposals to build six coal export terminals. **Update, 3:30 p.m.:** Seattle City Council vote is unanimous to oppose coal trains.
This week host Ashley Ahearn talks with EarthFix's Amelia Templeton about one scientist who's been told to keep his mouth shut about the science on Klamath River dam removal. Plus stories about baby owls and coal in Longview, Wash.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Ecology Department is asking the Corps of Engineers to develop a cumulative study of plans for coal export terminals in the Northwest.
Hundreds of people gathered at Portland's Pioneer Square Monday to protest coal export projects in the Northwest. Coal export terminals are proposed in the Oregon ports of St. Helens, Boardman and Coos Bay and in Bellingham, Grays Harbor and Longview in Washington.
LONGVIEW, Wash. -- Industrial and residential areas in this Columbia River town have always been neatly divided by a road called Industrial Way. Plans for the future of the site have the Longview community divided along new lines: between those who support a coal export terminal there and those who don't.
Portland General Electric may have put the brakes on one of two coal export terminals proposed for the Port of St. Helens.
This week EarthFix host Ashley Ahearn talks to teammates Cassandra Profita and Bonnie Stewart about coal exports in the Northwest and dams on the Snake River. And get the inside scoop on a new app that could be good news for endangered whales.
Gov. John Kitzhaber shared his “grave concerns” about coal export projects on the West Coast at the Future Energy Conference in Portland Wednesday. And he asked the federal government to conduct a full environmental impact study of the coal mined on public land in the Powder River Basin – including the impacts of exporting it to Asia – before any more coal leases are granted.
SEATTLE — The Environmental Protection Agency has weighed in on the first of several coal-export projects in the Northwest, telling the Army Corps of Engineers that it should thoroughly review the potential impacts of exporting large amounts of coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia.
If investors decide to locate an export terminal in Coos Bay to transport coal to markets in Asia, it won’t be the first time ships have docked at the Southern Oregon port to fill up with loads of coal.
A trio of companies - Mitsui, Metro Ports, and an unnamed third partner - are developing a plan to build an export terminal in Coos Bay. It would ship up to 10 million tons of coal a year from the Powder River Basin to a power plant in Asia. **See also: [How Coal Helped Build Coos Bay](/energy/article/how-coal-helped-build-the-port-of-coos-bay/ "How Coal Helped Build Coos Bay")**
**NEW: Living Near the Rail Yard video added 4/13.** SPOKANE, Wash. -- Proposals to build coal shipping terminals on the Washington coast to ship coal to China could have an impact on the region's Inland Empire.
A half-dozen Northwest ports are considering building terminals to export coal to Asia. In this EarthFix Conversation, Ashley Ahearn talks to climate expert Steve Davis about what mining, transporting and burning American coal looks like in terms of CO2 emissions.
SALEM, Ore. – Environmental groups are mobilizing against proposals to export coal through Northwest terminals. Protesters rallied outside a land use meeting in Salem Monday. They're asking Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to block permits for several coal terminals.
People in St. Helens are weighing in on one of two coal export projects proposed for their local port.
A half-dozen different coal export proposals have popped up around the Pacific Northwest. It isn't exactly an industry Oregon and Washington have been trying to lure. In fact, the projects face considerable opposition throughout the region. But the economic incentives to export are pretty strong, too. For more on the tradeoffs of coal exports in the Northwest, EarthFix spoke with Darren Epps, editor of Platts' market analysis newsletter on U.S. Coal.
As part of our series on Coal in the Northwest Ashley Ahearn spent some time in the port of Grays Harbor, Washington, talking to bakers, fishermen, longshoremen and librarians. Heck, she even visited the nursing home.
There are now six new export terminals proposed to be built along the Northwest coast. The goal? To bring American coal to Asia, via train and ship. If these terminals are approved, that could mean more than 100 million tons of coal traveling by rail across Idaho, Washington and Oregon every year. Public health experts are raising concerns about what the additional coal train traffic could mean for human health.
There's a lot of coal in the middle of the U.S. and China wants it, putting the Northwest right in the middle of transportation routes. EarthFix's Ashley Ahearn gets the lowdown on coal and how it's moving through the Northwest.
SSA Marine has submitted a permit application to build a bulk export terminal near Bellingham. If approved, the terminal will be large enough to handle up to 54 million metric tons per year. That could include wheat and grains but the majority will be coal, which will be delivered by train from mines in Wyoming and Montana and then shipped out of Washington to Asian markets.