Montana governor presses state to okay coal shipments

Jan 4, 2011

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is trying to clear the way for coal exports through the Pacific Northwest. He’s worried Washington state will block a proposed Columbia River shipping terminal for Montana and Wyoming coal. Schweitzer is making a hastily scheduled trip to southwest Washington Wednesday.

Montana’s governor has already called his Washington counterpart once about the private coal export terminal proposed in Longview. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire told Schweitzer she will "not get in the way of it." But she also says her state won’t take shortcuts in the review of the controversial project:

"So we’re going to go through the process. We’re going to live by the law of the state of Washington. He needs to be a little more patient."

Global warming activists have appealed a county shorelines permit for the export terminal to a state board. The critics argue the Pacific Northwest shouldn’t be an accessory to burning coal in China.

That steams Montana’s governor. After all he says, many of the lights in the Northwest shine in part because of a coal-fired power plant in Montana.