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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 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")**
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 Oregon and Washington consider proposals to export coal, satellite images show heavy cover of smog over China.
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.
News | Politics | Environment | Renewable energy | local | Sustainability | Transportation | Oil Trains In The NorthwestJuly 28, 2016 3:33 p.m.
Voters in Spokane will get to decide whether the city should prohibit the shipment of crude oil or coal by rail. The ballot measure, if approved, would make rail shipments of crude oil or coal a civil infraction.
The push for cleaner fuels in Oregon and Washington has led to proposals that would bring the region more crude oil and a new refinery along the Columbia River.
A lot of the biggest Northwest environmental stories surrounded energy issues. Coal plants in Centralia, WA, and Boardman, OR both faced pressure to close their doors sooner than planned. Those closures come at the same time that Longview, WA and Bellingham, WA proposed coal export terminals to ship the resource to China. Idaho joined in on the national push toward "fracking" for natural gas. And the federal decision to postpone the Keystone XL oil pipeline has raised the question of whether we'll see more oil tankers in NW waters as companies look for other routes to carry oil to China. The national Solyndra controversy raised questions about the certainty of investments in the local renewable energy industry. The wind and hydroelectric industries tried to work out the kinks of how to deal with the times when too much energy gets generated by both sources. And the Japanese tsunami that led to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and cleanup has raised quesitons everywhere about the safety of nuclear energy.
We're a day early with our regular news roundtable, our chance to review the big news of the week with a panel of journalists, editors and news watchers. This week, our discussion topics include:
- Negotiations in Salem over the education budget
- The Army Corps of Engineers' decision not to investigate the effect coal terminals would have on climate change or the region as a whole in its approval process
- The push by a majority of Washington's congressional delegation for the federal government not to prosecute Washingtonians who buy or sell marijuana under the state's new law.
- The Oregon Supreme Court upholding Gov. John Kitzhaber's right to block the execution of Gary Haugen.
Vanessa Renwick's new video installation, "Next-Level F---ed Up," mashes up the absurd and the awful, but ends upbeat.