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Oregon

REPORT: Federal Coal Leasing Agency Sets “Fair Market Values” Too Low

Unfair pricing practices fuel coal exports, shortchange the American public

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2014 FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Bob LeResche, (907) 723-2506; Kevin Dowling, WORC staff, (406) 252-9672, [email protected]; or Serena Larkin, Sightline Institute, (206) 447-1880 x111, [email protected] Seattle, Wash. – Despite explosive growth in U.S. coal exports in recent years, and mounting evidence that coal companies plan for even faster export growth, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ignores exports when setting the selling price of publicly owned coal, according to a new report by Sightline Institute, produced in collaboration with the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), Northern Plains Resource Council, Powder River Basin Resource … Read more »

Unfair Market Value

By Ignoring Exports, BLM Underprices Federal Coal

Coal companies operating in the western United States purchase much of their coal through federal coal leasing programs operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which allow private coal companies to mine and sell coal owned by the American public. Although a growing share of federal coal is exported to overseas customers, the BLM has almost completely ignored the value of export sales when determining the minimum price it will accept for federally owned coal. The failure to assess the economics of coal exports has led the agency to systematically underprice coal owned by the American public, potentially leading to millions of dollars in foregone revenue each year. This report documents cases in which coal companies have purchased low-cost federal coal, and then resold it overseas at much higher prices. It also documents examples of coal companies that have clearly stated their intention to export even more federal coal in the future. Read more »

The Thin Green Line

Thin Green Line, by Don Baker, for Sightline Institute

The Pacific Northwest stands at a crossroads of dirty energy exports and hungry Asian markets. We are the thin green line between the two, and our choices together in the coming years not only will determine the health and safety of our local communities, but also will help shape our planet’s future. (Video version available, too!) View graphic »

Keystone XL vs. Coal Exports

Keystone XL vs Coal Exports, Original Sightline graphic

A look at the carbon dimensions of two climate change disasters in the making: the Keystone XL Pipeline and new coal export terminals in the Northwest. View graphic »

Peabody Energy, Gateway Pacific, and the Asian Coal Bubble

Coal Prices Gateway Peak to Aug 2013

A new Sightline report shows that the collapse in coal prices jeopardized Peabody Energy’s coal export plans. Read more »

Unlocking Home

Three Keys to Affordable Communities

Unlocking Home Cover

Alan Durning takes a hard look at the pinch of expensive urban housing and sees what many others have missed. Hidden in city regulations is a set of simple but powerful barriers to housing for all. These rules criminalize history’s answers to affordable dwellings: the rooming house, the roommate, the in-law apartment, and the backyard cottage. In effect, cities have banned what used to be the bottom end of the private housing market. They’ve made urban quarters expensive and scarce. In Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Community, Durning details how to revive inexpensive housing in walkable neighborhoods—at no cost to the public—by striking a few lines from municipal law books. Read more »

Visualizing 8 Million Tons of Coal through Portland

Portland Coal Pile, June 2013

The 8 million metric tons of coal slated to come through Portland annually would make a pile 1/3 of a mile in diameter and three feet taller than the Wells Fargo Center. View graphic »

The Morrow Pacific Project

High costs could turn coal export plan into a terminal of last resort

Ambre_handling

The Morrow Pacific project, a coal export venture being pursued by Australian firm Ambre Energy, aims to ship coal by rail to Oregon’s Port of Morrow on the Columbia River, barge it downstream to a second port, and load it onto cargo ships bound for Asia. Recent financial disclosures suggest that the project would face unusually high costs in three separate areas: High handling costs. Unlike conventional export projects that would handle coal at a single location, the Morrow Pacific project would transfer coal twice—first from rail cars to barges, and later from barges to ocean-going vessels. The extra step … Read more »

Northwest Fossil Fuel Exports

fossil-fuels-052213

Across British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, there are active proposals for seven new or expanded coal terminals, three oil pipelines, and six new natural gas pipelines. The projects are distinct, but they can be denominated in a common currency: the tons of carbon dioxide emitted if the fossil fuels were burned. Taken together, these projects would be capable of delivering enough fuel to release an additional 761 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, equivalent to seven Keystone XL pipelines. The Northwest enjoys a reputation for leadership in clean energy and environmental policy. Yet the new … Read more »

Planned Northwest Coal Exports Would Not “Just Go to Canada”

A compilation of the coal industry’s leading thinkers explaining why the industry must have new coal ports in the Pacific Northwest. Read more »