Seattle City Council Opposes Coal Shipments

And now, the latest from the land of $5 cups of coffee.  The Seattle City Council has had its say when it comes to shipping cleaner burning Powder River Basin coal from Montana and Wyoming.  

CBS News has this:

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the development of coal-export terminals in Washington state after raising concerns about increased train traffic and potential harm to health and the environment from transporting coal across the state.

The vote came as the federal government is reviewing the first of at least six port facilities proposed in Washington and Oregon to ship coal from the Powder River basin of Montana and Wyoming to hungry markets in Asia.

Meanwhile, when it comes to rail capacity, Terry Whiteside of Whiteside & Associates in Billings, Montana has an interesting piece in a recent edition of the Montana Farmers Union newsletter.  

Whiteside says, “Hold on to your hats- the rails are going to be mighty full going westbound in the next 5 to 10 years.”

And it’s not just going to be the Montana coal that will be filling up the rails.  “There will likely be 70,000+ barrels per day of Bakken oil traversing across Montana headed to Washington based refineries,” Whiteside added.

Adding potential concern for farmers, Whiteside wrote that  rail capacity scarcity could force higher shipping rates.  He concluded, “In those captive areas such as Montana where grain transportation is tied to a single railroad and most of it moves westbound into export channels in the Portland area, it would not be an unreasonable consequence of rising rail capacity scarcity for the grain shippers to experience rising rates and increasing transit times.”      

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