Energy | Ecotrope

New Longview coal-export goal: 80 million tons?

Ecotrope | Feb. 24, 2011 9:35 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:40 p.m.

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Opponents of a coal-export terminal proposed on the Columbia River gathered in Longview, Wash., Wednesday to ask county commissioners to revoke the project's development permit now that internal e-mails have revealed the company's plans to export a lot more coal than stated in its permit application.

Opponents of a coal-export terminal proposed on the Columbia River gathered in Longview, Wash., Wednesday to ask county commissioners to revoke the project's development permit now that internal e-mails have revealed the company's plans to export a lot more coal than stated in its permit application.

Surprise! The Longview Daily News reports coal-export terminal developer Ambre Energy was discussing plans to export 80 million tons of coal a year to Asia. That’s 15 times as much as the company’s current permit applications claim the terminal will export.

The New York Times broke a story last week revealing the company’s plans to export 20 million to 60 million tons a year. But now The Daily News claims to have another e-mail citing an even larger figure:

“Last week, internal company e-mails revealed that executive at Ambre Energy, which owns Millennium, intended to expand to handle 20 million or 60 million tons of coal, making it the West Coast’s largest coal terminal.

However, in a Dec. 22, 2010 e-mail, Ambre CEO Edek Choros wrote that the company would need to expand the size of conveyor belts and improve other operations to be able to export 80 million tons of coal through the site annually.”

Project opponents in Longview on Tuesday staged a protest to get the Cowlitz County Commission to revoke the company’s development permit. Others gathered at Ambre Energy headquarters in Salt Lake City on Wednesday to oppose the terminal.

The coal export project has incited environmental groups who have been working to get the U.S. to stop using coal-fired power. It also raises a much larger question of how much coal the U.S. should sell to China and other fast-growing Asian countries as new environmental regulations and renewable energy standards tip the scales away from coal-fired power in the U.S.

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