The Trump administration is looking for support from Canada and Mexico under the newly-signed U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to help it circumvent state-level bans on coal shipments to Asia from western U.S. states.
California, Oregon, and Washington State have already forbidden the shipments, citing concerns about their climate impact, MercoPress reports. But U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette is hoping the new trade deal will open up a new, indirect avenue for exports, and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is already looking kindly on the idea.
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“That’s why the USMCA was so important,” Brouillette told an event in Washington last week. “We hope to work more collaboratively with both Mexico and Canada to find export facilities to get the coal from Wyoming” and other U.S. states.
While some U.S. legislators have raised concerns about lax environmental standards in the USMCA, “it’s not going to prevent the administration from working with our colleagues in Canada and Mexico to look for those types of opportunities,” he added.
Brouillette said he’d already had a meeting with Kenney. “We had a very wide ranging and extensive conversation about that very topic,” he reported, and “I think there is a lot of interest in doing this on the part of the Canadians.”
British Columbia already exports some U.S. coal, and “if there were an agreement between Washington and Ottawa to boost shipments, the coal would likely be sent through Alberta to a port” in B.C., MercoPress says. Kenney’s office didn’t immediately respond to the paper’s request for comment.
How horrible this is for Canada to already be complicit in helping the US export coal, and even how much more horrifying is it that anyone in Canada would even consider such a request. Is the smell of coal dollars that appealing?