Coal shipments from Montana to China not good for the economy

The Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies are holding hearings on proposals to take coal by train from Wyoming and Montana through Idaho, Oregon and Washington to terminals on the Washington and Oregon Coast for shipment to China. More information at the Power Past Coal Campaign.

Testimony we submitted: 

As part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)  for the proposed coal terminal, please include data detailing the results of shipping and burning that coal on climate, on human health, the environment and the economy.

If a government official has control of a loaded gun, someone asks if they can pass it to another person, the official agrees and it’s used for murder, the official and the government become part of that crime. We are asking you to make our government take responsibility for the results of its actions.

Building a terminal to ship coal will result in an increase in global warming. Emissions from burning and shipping  fossil fuel kill 5 million people a year now, through drought, flood, hunger, disease and trauma according to the  DARA Climate Vulnerability Monitor.

If the EIS considers the economy and employment, it needs to include study of how global warming reduces productivity now and over the coming decades and the alternative of a green energy economy.

According to DARA, continued burning of fossil fuels will shrink the gross domestic product, costing us 6 times more than it would cost us to invest in energy efficiency and clean technology and reduce the risks of global warming.

The fossil fuel industry is spending its ample profits on intense lobbying and public relations to keep their 85% monopoly of the energy market, We have a responsibility to resist, to champion competitiveness. Society should no longer pick up the tab for the many external costs of fossil fuel or give permission for hazardous investments.

The cost of wind and solar electricity has been dropping steadily over the past decades and is already competitive with electricity generated by gas or coal in many places. By the time the terminal would be completed, solar electricity will clearly be a cheaper option.

Why would China then want to buy our coal?  China is already producing wind power for as low as 7 cents a kilowatt-hour and overflowing with cheap solar panel production. Green technology, including batteries, grids and efficiency innovations manufactured in America are the key to a stronger economy, increased exports and profits to our communities. 

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