say No to use of coal in Us + No to be exported, what can we do now?
Apr 2, 2012
Dear Ms. Lincoln:
Thanks for your message in opposition to exporting coal. I appreciate
hearing from you and having this opportunity to respond.
Unfortunately, the United States cannot prohibit exporting coal and
other raw materials thanks to America's membership in the job-killing
World Trade Organization (WTO). I voted against U.S. participating in
the WTO when it was rammed through a lame duck session of Congress by
President Clinton in 1994 and have consistently cosponsored legislation
to withdraw the U.S. from the WTO.
Early in my career I attempted to ban the export of raw logs in order to
save jobs in rural Oregon and to maintain the existing timber
infrastructure. While I was able to secure a ban on exporting raw logs
from federal lands, I lost the battle to ban exports of raw logs from
private lands. Under the WTO, exports of raw material can only be
prohibited for conservation or national security purposes. Thus, thanks
to the WTO it is possible the important restrictions I helped secure on
federal raw logs could be successfully challenged by our trading
I have also attempted to assess a tax on imported oil and urged
Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama to take on the colluding and
monopolistic Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
But my efforts have consistently been blocked by WTO rules or by
lethargic administrations and congresses unwilling to challenge our
failed trade agreements.
If the construction of coal export terminals moves forward on the West
Coast, terminals should be constructed to the highest standards in order
to reduce the impact of public health and the environment. I would
expect and fully support: ensuring rail cars are sealed to reduce the
emission of fugitive coal dust; coal is transported using rotary dump
(solid bottom) systems; coal will be stored indoors at facilities
equipped with proper filtration systems to prevent emissions of fugitive
coal dust; and coal will be transferred on an enclosed conveyer from
ports to ships.
As a member of the House Natural Resources and Transportation and
Infrastructure Committees, I have a deep interest in this issue and will
continue to follow it closely. Carbon emissions are a worldwide problem
and we need to continue to pursue international agreements that
encourage reductions in emissions. I will continue to fight for better
trade laws that do not undermine America's ability to protect the health
of our citizens, our communities, and our environment. Regrettably,
this effort has largely been an uphill battle.
Again, thanks for writing and please keep in touch.
Rep. Peter DeFazio
Fourth District, OREGON