Our climate would take a big hit if proposed coal export facilities are approved in western Washington and Oregon.

The annual amount of CO2 that would be produced from burning that coal (destined to be shipped overseas to India and China) would be 199 million tons. That’s even more than the 144 million tons per year of CO2 that would be produced from the Alberta tar sands transported through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The coal-mined in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming-would be destined for three proposed ports: one at Cherry Point in Bellingham, another in Boardman, Ore., and a third, the Millenium Bulk Terminal, in Longview, Wash.

These port facilities will generate up to 40 new coal trains per day traveling through Sandpoint, to and from the mines in the Powder River Basin. The proposals have generated much concern locally and regionally due to potential impacts from the mile-long trains that would emit coal dust and diesel fumes in the communities along the tracks.

Meanwhile, ICL has been encouraging our Idaho utilities to divest from coal-fired power, to protect our air and water quality and our climate, and turn to renewable and clean energy sources. But it makes no sense to cut our coal-dependency at home when we are  fueling it abroad.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Washington Department of Ecology are accepting comments on the Millenium Bulk Terminal through Monday, Nov 18, 2013.