A federal judge has ruled that the city of Oakland, California cannot prevent a private company from developing a port for coal export.
In 2016, the Utah Legislature offered to contribute $53 million to the Oakland port in order to export Utah coal to Asia. Utah has also joined a lawsuit trying to force Washington State to build a coal-export terminal on the Columbia River.
The state’s heavy investment in coal is particularly worrisome because the Trump Administration has re-drawn boundaries of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to open the possibility of coal mining on the Kaiparowits Plateau. Likewise, a San Rafael Swell bill introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R) and John Curtis (R-UT-3) has boundaries carefully drawn around coal deposits—this despite that coal mining is becoming less profitable for tax revenues.
In March, the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining signed off on a fee discount for the Sufco Mine on the Wasatch Plateau due to “significant and unique adverse geologic conditions.” Although the State of Utah will lose nearly $19 million in royalty payments, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claimed that the coal energy would be “wasted” without the massive subsidy.