Washington takes note of Clark’s targeting coal exports – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – May 2, 2017)


American coal expert says Christy Clark’s posturing on thermal coal exports having intended effect

Christy Clark’s vow to ban or tax thermal coal exports moving through B.C. ports may be nothing more than election brinkmanship, but it seems to be having its intended effect in the U.S. According to Joe Aldina, a New York based energy analyst specializing in coal for S&P Global Platts, Clark’s recent targeting of thermal coal exports moving through B.C. ports has generated a bit of a buzz in the corridors of Washington.

“I know from my contacts that I was just talking to, already they’re lobbying and having conversations behind the scenes in Washington,” Aldina told Business in Vancouver. “It’s certainly got people’s attention.”

Last week, in response to new countervailing duties of 20% or more slapped on Canadian softwood lumber, Clark wrote the prime minister asking for a federal ban on thermal coal exports passing through B.C. ports, and then added that, if exports aren’t banned, a B.C. Liberal government would apply a levy “so onerous that there’s no percentage in shipping thermal coal through British Columbia.”

Thermal coal exports may be the only real trump card B.C. has to play. Or maybe that should read “Trump card” because U.S. President Donald Trump made the revival of America’s faltering thermal coal industry a major election plank.

“I think it’s pretty smart posturing,” Aldina said. “It grabs headlines and is visible, so I don’t think Trump would want headlines – negative headlines – given that he’s made coal a rallying cry of his administration.”

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