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Who Knows Best?
New Green Motto: Not in Your Backyard

Environmentalists successfully blocked the construction of a new coal export terminal in Oakland, California recently, citing the dangers the admittedly dirty-burning energy source posed to the planet’s climate. Green opposition to coal is nothing new, but this case was a little different: In Oakland, American environmentalists were protesting coal that would be burned clear across the Pacific Ocean to help fuel Asia’s development. Bloomberg reports:

Oakland’s rejection marks a sea change in the fight against coal exports from the U.S. and underscores an emerging challenge for energy projects. The Sierra Club and other environmental groups have scuttled three of six coal terminals proposed in the U.S. Pacific Northwest that would have shipped as much as 146 million metric tons annually to booming markets in Asia. […]

In Oregon, Ambre Energy Ltd.’s North American subsidiary is facing its seventh regulatory delay as it tries to strengthen its case for an export terminal. It has been seeking permits since 2012.

A pact signed in October by U.S. West Coast governors signaled that coal shippers will continue to face opposition. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, both Democrats, wrote a letter last year to federal regulators asking them to consider climate change when deciding on export terminals.

America is exporting more and more coal as cheap, fracked shale gas displaces coal use here in the states. “Green” Europe is importing much of what we are no longer burning, but Asia is a much more promising customer. Its already considerable coal consumption is expected to increase more than 50 percent by 2040, according to the EIA’s 2013 International Energy Outlook:

This is what greens do best: tell other people how they ought to live their lives, or in this case, source their energy needs. Forget the fact that in countries like China and India, coal is one of the cheapest options for powering development that will lift millions out of poverty. Forget that the countries themselves are wrangling with the right balance of development and environmental protection. No, for American greens, this is a problem to be solved in the states, no matter the costs to the developing world’s poor.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Much as I despise enviro-Nazism, there’s a certain logic to this. Thanks to the prevailing winds across the North Pacific, the emissions which are produced by Asia consumers of US coal ends up on the West Coast.

  • LarryD

    Ever since the Club of Rome, it has been about suppressing “the other”, the third and second worlders, to protect the elites position.

    But India and China are never going to fall the scam, so enviromentalism hobbles Europe and North America more.

    • Corlyss

      That I believe was their goal in the first place because the greens think the West has not done enough to compensate their former colonies for whatever privations the greens think colonization visited on the backward tribal poor. Either we, the West, would give them mountains of cash or hamstring ourselves so they could prosper. For the greens, it’s all about social justice.

  • Corlyss

    “In their quest to save the planet”
    Isn’t it time we stop genuflecting to their ridiculous fig leaf? It’s never been about anything other than controlling Western economies, no matter what gloss the greens have put on it. All that “save the planet” crap is for is to seduce the useful idiots.

  • qet

    “Jack Fleck, a retired engineer and Oakland resident who spoke out against Bowie’s plan, said by phone on May 12. “Whatever the economic benefit would’ve been, it wasn’t worth destroying the planet over.” ”

    You mean, the economic benefits of additional FICA-paying workers at the port and of construction workers building the port to pay for the social security payments that are funding your retirement? Where do you think, Jack, the federal government is going to get your retirement money?

    “This has become about us enabling other countries to do things that aren’t in the best interest of the planet.” ”

    I am beyond perplexed how it is that that this country has become a place where people who say this sort of thing with a straight face and with all the seriousness of cancer have the political clout that they do.

    • Dan

      kind of amazing that same group of people are always saying how the US needs to mind its own business and stop interfering in other countries

  • mf

    environmentalism has to be wrestled back from the left. It is being used as a tool to achieve political ends, which will in the end damage the cause of environmental protection. We do need reasonable means to protect our environment from polluters and can’t effort loss of public trust due to politicization.

  • B-Sabre

    This isn’t a new motto, it’s a variation of their old motto: “We know what’s best for you – so shut up and do what you’re told.”

  • Anthony

    Why not use nuclear power instead?

  • Boritz

    Just as a modicum of reform comes to corn-into-ethanol which potentially could make food more affordable worldwide coal export policy takes a serious turn for the worse. While these policies appear to behave like a zero sum game of stupidity, it’s probably much worse than that, as in unlimited stupidity is entirely possible.

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