NFIB: Governors' coal export views are misguided

NFIB Oregon's Jan Meekcoms believes thwarting efforts to build coal export facilities flies in the face of the Oregon Business Plan's economic development mission.

NFIB Oregon's Jan Meekcoms believes thwarting efforts to build coal export facilities flies in the face of the Oregon Business Plan's economic development mission.

The National Federation of Independent Business has blasted high-ranking Northwest officials' coal export stances.

NFIB leaders from Oregon and Washington this said Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee were wrong to include greenhouse gas emissions of U.S. coal supplies in the review of leases and export facilities.

Kitzhaber and Inslee last week asked the White House Council on Environmental Quality to consider whether U.S. coal supplies yield greenhouse gas emissions when evaluating the environmental impacts of coal exports.

NFIB maintains that evaluating greenhouse gas emissions of exported products is absolutely unprecedented.

“Adding GHG emissions to the local, environmental evaluations of export facilities is a costly overreach of an already stringent environmental review process,” said Patrick Connor, Washington's NFIB director, in a statement. “This added hurdle threatens future and existing exports among numerous industries and commodities. A stifled flow of trade from the Pacific Northwest would have a significant negative economic impact to our region and our members.”

NFIB Oregon's Jan Meekcoms agreed, mentioning Kitzhaber and the Oregon Business Plan, which shapes the state's economic development strategies, by name.

"Gov. Kitzhaber has stated that the Oregon Business Plan contains guiding principles for moving Oregon’s economy forward," she said in a release. "A primary goal of the OBP is to support our trade-sector economy, those enterprises that export regionally and globally, thereby bringing new dollars to Oregon which support our small businesses and job growth. In our view, his stated greenhouse gas emission policy regarding coal leasing and exports is a contrary position and would hamper our economic growth.”

The directors said that 40 percent of Washington's jobs are connected to trade. Five proposed coal export facilities in both states would provide "critical, private investments for ports and railroads," the NFIB leaders said.

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