Montana coal exports spur environmental battle

As coal production for export to Asia increases in Montana, the state finds itself at the forefront of an environmental battle in the northwestern region of the US, the Seattle Times reports.

Miner Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE: CLD) and other companies have proposals that could double Montana's output. The state has more coal resources than any other in the country.

Cloud Peak sends product from its Spring Creek mine to British Columbia, where it is shipped to South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The miner has also secured rights to ship coal through the terminals proposed for Cherry Point and Longview in Washington state.

Environmental groups and their supporters have mounted a major campaign to try to restrict shipping coal overseas.

In response, the coal industry has formed a coalition stretching from the Washington maritime unions to Montana’s Crow Tribe, which has a development agreement with Cloud Peak for up to 1.4 billion tonnes of coal production from its lands.

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