We can do better than coal export to build our region’s economy. Coal companies stand to make huge profits. China would get the energy. The Northwest would pay the price.

Washington and Oregon have long and proud history of economic innovation, and our region already supports thousands of high-tech and clean energy jobs that can’t be outsourced. We should focus on building those industries – not supporting and becoming a middleman in the world’s dying industries of the past like dirty coal.  Pioneering a sustainable prosperity is both our responsibility and one of our greatest economic opportunities; Coal export would bind us – economically, politically, and morally – to the opposite path: a global economic development strategy that is fundamentally incompatible with energy security and climate stability.

Making coal a major export product from Washington state raises serious questions about its impact on our economy – and the economics of coal.

  1.  Coal export terminals employ surprisingly few people – less than many other commodities – and in the process cover acres of desirable waterfront land with piles of coal.
  2. Train traffic from the proposed coal export terminals would pose serious risks to other economic drivers – in Bellingham, essentially cutting off the new waterfront development for hours of the day.
  3. Coal hasn’t panned out as an economic boom for West Coast cities that have tried exporting it in the past. Both Portland and Los Angeles lost millions on unsuccessful coal terminal projects (in the 1980s and 1990s respectively).
  4. By increasing the supply of coal available in growing markets, price will go down, thus making coal more affordable and coal-fired power plants a more desirable choice for China.

Learn more about coal export’s impact on our economy: