August 2, 2012
Senators fight EPA efforts to block Powder River coal exports to Asia
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., are fighting to ensure the construction of new port facilities in Oregon and Washington, which would export Powder River Basin coal to Asia, are not delayed by climate change red tape.
Today, the senators sent a letter to Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, and Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, voicing their strong opposition to significantly expanding the scope of the environmental review process for port facilities in Oregon and Washington.
The senators raise concerns that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to impose what is effectively a climate change litmus test on American exports. They point out how this would severely threaten American manufacturing. Barrasso said, “It is difficult for example, to see how Boeing planes, General Motors automobiles, or heavy equipment from Caterpillar could ever pass a climate change litmus test.”
Coal producers in the Powder River Basin currently export coal to Asia through ports in British Columbia, Canada. The senators argue that the Administration should not outsource jobs to Canada especially when over 460,000 people in Oregon and Washington cannot find work. The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports estimates that new port facilities in Oregon and Washington would create thousands of permanent, family-wage jobs.