Energy | Ecotrope

Montana to Washington: Let our coal through

Ecotrope | Jan. 3, 2011 8:44 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:42 p.m.

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Montana’s governor took a shot at Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire last week, after the Washington Department of Ecology requested to intervene in an appeal by environmental groups that aims to stop the Longview, Wash., coal-export facility. Montana officials say as long as the world is going to burn coal, why not make it coal from Montana?

“I’m going to be calling (Gov.) Chris Gregoire, and I might suggest to her that she remind her constituents that they’ve kept their lights on for 30 years with our coal,” Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said.

“Over in Seattle, at every single intersection, on every street corner, they’ve got a Starbucks coffee or a Seattle’s Best, and they’re drinking all that hot coffee and talking about how bad that coal is,” Schweitzer said. “All the while, that coffee was heated with coal electricity that was burned in Colstrip and put in wires and sent to all four corners of that intersection in Seattle for 40 years. That’s fine, how do you do?”

Australia-based Ambre Energy subsidiary Millenium Bulk Logistics has proposed to export coal from the Powder River Basin to China through a terminal in Longview, and it got an approval to move ahead from the Cowlitz County Commission. Environmental groups hate the idea, which is why they appealed the vote.

Washington Department of Ecology, which will have to approve some permits for the project, had asked the county to do more analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of the project before the agency petitioned to intervene in the opponents’ appeal of the county vote. A state spokesperson said Ecology intervened to be involved the process as a permitting agency.

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