U.S. coal export plans held up by environmental objections

The U.S. coal mining industry is looking to expand its market abroad with a new export facility in Oregon, but environmental groups are challenging these plans in court, according to Reuters.

The proposed Port of Morrow export facility received a boost last week with the announcement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it would only assess the plans based on the environmental impact of transporting the coal.

However, environmental group the Sierra Club announced that it would challenge this decision, based on a reading of the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, which environmentalists believe requires the Corp of Engineers to also consider emissions at coal plants in China.

"I'm afraid that by choosing to perform a less stringent analysis today, the Corps will ultimately create a longer delay," U.S. Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon said in a statement.

Reuters reports that a recent analysis from Point Carbon found that U.S. exports of coal to the EU are already expected to contribute to increased emissions in Europe, even as American utilities transition away from coal-fired power plants.

Information on the U.S. coal mining sector can be found in PennEnergy's Research area.

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