The Spokesman-Review, September 9, 2012
Coal trains are a-comin’, and two new reports suggest different futures for the Northwest – Spokane in particular – when they do.
One, prepared for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, concludes the construction of coal ports in Oregon and Washington will generate $6 billion in economic benefits to the region, including the Wyoming and Montana mines where the coal will originate. Its destination: Asia, where demand for coal in China alone could increase more than 50 percent by 2035.
The second, done for the Western Organization of Resource Councils, says coal trains could almost double the rail traffic through Spokane and Spokane Valley, now at 60 trains per day.
Both studies are self-serving. The alliance consists of coal, railroad and labor interests that will benefit greatly from coal exports. The resource councils have been fighting coal development in the Powder River Basin for more than 30 years.