"Oregon Town Weighs a Future With an Old Energy Source: Coal"

"BOARDMAN, Ore. -- A new link in the world's future energy supply could soon be built here on the Columbia River, and it would have nothing to do with the vast acres of wind turbines or the mammoth hydroelectric dams that give this region's power sources one of the cleanest carbon footprints in the nation."

"Instead, Boardman is pursuing one of the oldest and dirtiest of fossil fuels: coal. The question is not whether to use it to produce new energy but whether to make what some say would be tainted new profits.

Even as coal-fired power plants are being phased out in Oregon and Washington, Boardman, an agribusiness outpost across the river from vineyards owned by the Columbia Crest winery and where the Department of Energy recently awarded $25 million to an innovative biofuel producer, is among at least half a dozen ports in the region weighing whether to ship millions of tons of coal to Asia from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.

If all of the projects were built, as much as 150 million tons of coal per year could be exported from the Northwest, nearly 50 percent more than the nation's entire coal export output last year."

William Yardley reports for the New York Times April 18, 2012.

Source: NY Times, 04/19/2012