Asian coal exports get boost from WA port approval

SEATTLE, wa – Efforts by the U.S. coal industry to expand its export market have taken a significant step forward, as officials in Washington state approved a plan to ship the fuel to Asia through a Columbia River port.

Commissioners in Washington voted Tuesday to allow a subsidiary of Australia-based Ambre Energy to redevelop a port in Oregon to handle five million tons of coal annually.

The project north of Portland, Ore. would be the first of several proposed new coal terminals to be built on the West Coast. It would also serve mines in Montana and Wyoming.

Several environmental groups want to halt the project. They say it runs counter to efforts by states to curb their own greenhouse gas emissions.