Coal Exports Choked by Green-Minded Towns on U.S. West Coast – by Will Wade (Bloomberg/Financial Post – December 3, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. It’s about to get harder for America’s miners to ship coal to Asia.

On Tuesday, the city of Richmond, California, is expected to approve a ban on coal at a terminal that accounts for almost a quarter of exports from the U.S. West Coast. The prohibition will shut miners out of one of the few places in the region willing to handle the fuel and limit their access to one place in the world where coal demand is still growing.

That’s exactly what Richmond city officials want. “This is something we can do that will almost certainly result in less coal shipped from the U.S. to Asia, and maybe less coal burned in Asia,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said in an interview.

Richmond is only the latest West Coast city to fight back against coal passing through the region — an effort to both combat climate change and get rid of the dust coating their towns. Several efforts to build U.S. West Coast coal terminals have failed in recent years amid resistance from environmental groups and local leaders.

Washington denied a permit in 2017 for a facility that would’ve shipped as much as 44 million tons a year overseas. The year before that, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected another project in the state.

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