NWF: Risk of coal exports outweigh gains

Aug. 1, 2012 at 7:36 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- With coal declining as a U.S. power source, the subsequent increase in exports to Asian markets comes with major risks, an environmental group said.

A report from the National Wildlife Federation said that U.S. coal exports from the Pacific Northwest would threaten public and environmental health.

"Sending more coal to Asia carries almost no benefits for the United States but we pay the price," said Felice Stadler, who directs the energy campaign for the NWF, in a statement.

"Degraded fisheries, damaged communities, medical costs, harms to wildlife and a continued burning of high carbon fuel will cost us dearly for decades."

The report states there are at least six coal ports under consideration for the western U.S. coast. Combined, they could send at least 150 million tons of coal to Asian markets.

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said last week that tighter regulations on coal production "could result in the loss of thousands of jobs and economic harm to over 20 states."

The NWF counters that an increase in the use of coal would cause environmental harm no matter where it's burned.

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