For anyone who sees themselves as more progressive than Nigel Farage, life under the new Australian government hasn't been very exciting – but over the last few weeks we have seen what could be one of the great political shifts in the country’s history.
Think about the last time you got to the top of a mountain one mile high. Now think about descending that distance below the surface of the earth, foot by dark foot, far below all life, light or oxygen. You go down there to dig.
What you’re digging for, deep in the hot, fetid, bowels of the earth, is carbonized life forms, millions of years in the making, turned to a type of rock that ignites and burns; one that your prime minister and energy analysts tell you will help the economic future of your country.
Introductory note by Vancouver Ecosocialists: Much of the planned expansion of coal exports from the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert is the therrmal coal that is strip mined in Wyoming. The following article looks at the dim commercial prospects for therrmal coal.
EASTSOUND, Wash. — FROM where I live on Orcas Island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle, I can see Cherry Point across the wind-whipped waters of the Salish Sea. This sandy promontory jutting into Georgia Strait has become the focus of heated debate here in the Pacific Northwest.
Regulators in Washington state have decided to undertake a sweeping environmental review of a proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River at Longview. The Millennium Bulk Terminals proposal would see construction of a port capable of handling 44 million tons of thermal coal mined in Wyoming and Montana and transported to the coast by rail. That would make it the largest single coal export terminal in North America.
Declining domestic demand (due to cheaper natural gas and stiffer regulations) and heavy opposition to coal exports on the U.S. West Coast have increased pressure to export American thermal coal through Metro Vancouver ports. Those proposals have faced stiff opposition north of the border too -- but not from some unions. Recently the ILWU, U.S.W, IUOE and the BC Building Trades co-authored an op-ed that was critical of Metro Vancouver community, local government and health authority concerns about potential risks posed by plans to export up to eight million tonnes per year of U.S.