3:34 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Idaho Power Gets OK For Wyoming Coal Plant Project

Idaho Power Co. can spend tens of millions to clean up its Wyoming coal-fired power plant and expect ratepayers to cover the project's cost, but regulators want quarterly updates on whether these emission-control investments continue to make sense as federal environmental rules change.

Announced Monday by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the decision aims to ensure Idaho's biggest utility isn't locked into the estimated $130 million project if alternatives to coal emerge as better for ratepayers.

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9:38 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Poll Finds NW Residents’ Support For Coal Eroding

Credit Courtney Flatt / Earthfix

A new survey finds support for coal export terminals has dropped over the past year among Northwest residents. It also finds support for a region-wide approach to measuring the environmental impact of exporting coal.

A public opinion poll for EarthFix asked Northwest residents how they felt about transporting coal from Montana and Wyoming through the Northwest. That coal would then be exported to Asia. There are now three proposed export terminals in the region.

DHM Research surveyed 483 residents in Washington, Oregon and Idaho from Friday through Monday.

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3:35 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Army Corps Says Climate Change Won't Be Part Of Northwest Coal Export Reviews

The federal agency in charge of approving Northwest coal export terminals told a congressional panel Monday it will not be considering the effects of burning coal on the climate.

The Army Corp of Engineers is overseeing the environmental review for the three terminals proposed for Washington and Oregon waterways. Together they could bring 100 million tons of coal to the Asian market from the Powder River basin of Wyoming and Montana.

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10:01 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Government Report: Coal Companies Are Pocketing Millions At Taxpayers’ Expense

Credit Katie Campbell / EarthFix

The Federal government is missing out on tens of millions of dollars in revenue from companies that mine coal on public lands.  That’s according to a new report released by the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The new report details inadequate mine inspection practices and a lack of enforcement on the part of the Bureau of Land Management.

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9:23 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Anti-coal Export Groups File Legal Petition For Coal Study

The number of coal export terminals proposed for Oregon and Washington has dropped from six to three. But a dozen Northwest groups aren’t backing down from their call for a regional impact study of the coal projects.

The groups filed a legal petition Wednesday with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They want the corps to study the environmental impacts of transporting coal by train and barge from mines in Montana and Wyoming to shipping terminals.

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8:46 am
Tue April 23, 2013

New Coalition Launches Against Northwest Coal Exports

Credit Courtney Flatt / Earthfix

A coalition of tribal leaders and politicians gathered in Seattle Monday to announce the formation of a new group that opposes coal exports in the Northwest.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and State Representative Reuven Carlyle were among a group of Washington politicians and tribal leaders who announced the creation of the Leadership Alliance Against Coal. The group says it will work to “raise awareness about the damaging economic, cultural and health impacts of coal trains and coal exports”.

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7:12 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Environmental Groups Announce Plan To Sue Rail and Coal Companies Under Clean Water Act

Credit Marketplace/APM

A coalition of environmental groups that oppose exporting coal through terminals in the Northwest have announced plans to file a lawsuit against BNSF Railway and several coal companies.

The groups say coal that escapes from trains is polluting the water and should be regulated under the Clean Water Act.

Environmental groups have collected samples of black rock in waterbodies along train tracks in the Northwest and found that some of that rock is coal.

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8:44 am
Tue March 12, 2013

A Closer Look At Coal Dust In The Northwest: Part Two

Credit Marketplace/APM

For the last year EarthFix has been looking at the issue of coal being exported through the Northwest.

There are five proposed coal export terminals under consideration in Washington and Oregon. They would be built to transfer coal off of trains from Wyoming and Montana mines and on to ships bound for Asia.

Some coal dust will escape along the journey from the mines to the terminals.

The Black Thunder mine  located near Gillette, Wyoming is one of the largest open pit mines in the world.

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9:42 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Some Experts Say Coal Dust From Trains Merits A Closer Look: Part One

Credit Katie Campbell / EarthFix

There are now five coal export terminals under consideration in Washington and Oregon.
Environmental groups, businesses and communities along rail lines are asking questions about the potential impacts of transporting coal through the Northwest.

Some of those questions are about coal dust. How much of it will escape along the journey from Wyoming and Montana mines to the proposed export terminals on the West Coast? And how might the dust impact the health of people who live along the train routes?

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12:47 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Wyden Requests Investigation Into Royalties From Overseas Coal Sales

Coal mines like this one in Wyoming are drawing scrutiny from the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. He questions whether they're paying their fair share of royalties for the coal they want to ship overseas.
Credit Katie Campbell / EarthFix

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden was recently named Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. And one of his first moves was asking the administration to investigate the royalties it receives for coal mined on public land. 

The Bureau of Land Management owns vast reserves of coal in Wyoming and Montana. Companies like Arch Coal and Peabody Energy mine it, sell it, and pay the government its cut.

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7:57 am
Fri December 14, 2012

At Public Meeting Seattle Shows Strong Opposition To Gateway Pacific Terminal

Opponents of plans to build coal export terminals in the Northwest waved their signs in support of comments made at the coal export hearing in Seattle.
Credit Michael Werner / EarthFix

More than 2,000 people showed up Thursday to tell regulators what they think should be considered in the environmental review of a proposed coal export terminal near Bellingham, Wash. If built, it could be the largest such facility on the West Coast.

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1:51 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Poll Finds Northwesterners Support Coal Export Proposals

Survey respondents say they support more trains like this one carrying Powder River basin coal through the Pacific Northwest.
Kimon Berlin Creative Commons

A new poll finds that most residents in the Northwest are supportive of transporting coal through the region for export to Asia. DHM Research conducted the poll for Earthfix.

"Obama, rein in your regs."
That was on a sign that Wyatt Fitch held up when the President visited Portland this week.

Fitch was showing his support for proposed coal export terminals in Oregon.

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3:03 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Recent Eastern Washington Coal Spill Raises Questions About Proposed Increased Exports

Crews clean up tons of coal after dozens of cars overturned near Mesa, Wash
Courtney Flatt Earthfix

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.

Huge machinery had to be trucked in from the Tri-Cities to clean up the black dusty mess in the rural burg east of Yakima. Car loads of coal overturned and damaged the tracks there.

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9:12 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Spokane Has Concerns Over Proposed Coal Terminals

Courtney Flatt

The prospect of trains carrying a mile-long string of coal cars has some Spokane area residents concerned. Proposals to build coal shipping terminals on the Washington coast to ship coal to China could have an impact on the Spokane region. The coal would be shipped from Wyoming via train, and those trains would come right through the city of Spokane.

The plan has many concerned about what the impact would be.

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9:09 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Anti-Coal Protesters Take Message To Top Oregon Officials

Andy Harris with the group Physicians for Social Responsibility speaks at a rally against coal export terminals outside a meeting of the Oregon State Land Board in Salem
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Environmental groups are mobilizing against proposals to export coal through Northwest terminals. That coal would be mined in the Rockies and travel by train across Idaho to Oregon and Washington ports to be shipped to Asia.   Protesters rallied in Oregon’s capital Monday. They're asking Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to block permits for several coal terminals.

Critics say the coal-laden trains would spew dust and block traffic. And environmental groups oppose the use of coal as an energy source regardless of where and how it's shipped.

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5:09 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Coal Train Traffic Increase Could Be Bad News For Health

Courtney Flatt

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.

The potential for more train traffic has public health experts concerned. 

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