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Will the coal-export industry survive?

US coal arriving at terminals (Courtesy Westshore Terminals)
Summary

Two coal export terminals will not happen in Washington state, plus expansion of terminals here are in limbo.

Environment group believes the end is near for coal exports because of low prices and changing consumption patterns.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The future of coal exporting is in question, as the sixth proposed coal-port terminal on the US west coast has been abandoned.

Arch Coal, the second largest coal company in America, has walked away from a proposed coal export facility in Longview, Washington.

Last month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal, also in Washington state.

Only a few years ago, several terminals in BC were prepared to expand in order to take advantage of US coal headed to Asian markets.

“Coal used to sell for a hell of a lot more than now. There was a plan to build a coal terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks. Neptune in North Vancouver was going to double its capacity. Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert was going double its capacity. All that stuff is gone by the wayside.” explains Kevin Washbrook is with Voters Taking Action on Climate Change.

Westshore terminals in Delta still handles US coal, but in reduced quantities.

“The end is near for coal exports. When we started fighting these expansion plans, there was a lot of optimism in the industry. Since then, the landscape has changed. I don’t think it’s going to come back frankly.”

Washbrook points out prices have fallen and China is cutting its consumption of the fossil fuel.

Meanwhile, the controversial Fraser Surrey Docks terminal expansion has yet to get started, a project which is being fought in federal court by environmental groups plus the Cities of New Westminster and Surrey.