Coal Trains To Go Through Washington With or Without Western Terminals

By Tom Bacon

Even if foes of three big coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon manage to derail the projects, long coal trains will still rumble through Washington - their cargo, however, destined for British Columbia ports.
A spokesman for the Seattle firm which wants to build a big coal terminal at Cherry Point said that Wyoming and Montana coal is already being shipped through the state. But the trains – about four a day right now – are bound for British Columbia ports that are planning to enlarge their facilities to meet surging demand from Asia.
Craig Cole of the SSA Marine Co. in Seattle – the firm planning to build the big Cherry Point terminal on Puget Sound – said Asia needs the fuel, and, as he put it, port operators will seek to service that demand, whether they're in the United States or British Columbia.
If the two terminals pending in Washington are built, along with one on the Columbia River near Boardman, Ore., their capacity will be far larger than the B.C. ports.
Cole pointed out that if Washington finally says "no" to the Cherry Point and Longview terminals, coal trains will still transit the state, but the jobs will go north to Canada.
The Washington State Department of Ecology review of the environmental impacts of the projects is expected to take another two years or so.
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