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Natural Resources & Energy

British Columbia Coal Port Gets Green Light

Stephanie Joyce
Wyoming Public Media

Proposals to export Wyoming coal through ports on the U.S. West Coast are in limbo, facing environmental opposition and lengthy permitting processes, but an export terminal in British Columbia just got the green light from regional authorities.

Port Metro Vancouver approved the coal facility’s permit on the same day global leaders kicked off climate talks in Paris. The port authority determined that the port would not have a "significant adverse environmental impact." As it’s currently proposed, the facility would be able to ship 4 million tons of Powder River Basin coal a year.

But even with the permit, it’s unclear if and when the project might get underway. The terminal faces several lawsuits and still needs an air quality permit before construction can start.

Also, the Asian coal market is weak at the moment, which makes exports less attractive. Cloud Peak Energy, one of Wyoming’s largest coal producers, recently announced that it will pay another coal port in British Columbia not to ship coal for the next three years because of market conditions.

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