Few issues inflame environmentalists in Washington and Oregon more than the prospect of new terminals that would export coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin to Asia.
Hundreds of citizens showed up for an Oct. 9 public hearing on proposed terminals, many of them to voice their opposition to proposed terminal on the Columbia at the Port of Longview. Proponents also want to build at export facility at the eastern Oregon Port of Morrow, in Boardman.
This week, the environmental blog desmog.com posted audio and a transcript of a conversation at an industry conference in September between a spokeswoman for the backers of new export terminals and an executive at Arch Coal, the the U.S. coal industry's second largest producers and a big player in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
A blogger seeking to interview Lauri Hennessey, who works for the Edelman public relations agency and speaks for an industry consortium called the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, captured a candid conversation between her and Matthew Ferguson, Arch's thermal coal marketing chief.
"I was quoted in the paper, because again I was speaking to the audience in Seattle, and I was like, "Well of course we're concerned about climate change," Hennessey tells Ferguson on the tape.
"Everyone's concerned about climate change. But what we're saying is this is not going to contribute to climate change." But someone from Peabody [Coal] got on a call, it was my second week on the job, and said, "You were quoted saying coal’s worried about climate change? We don't believe in climate change!” And I remember I was on the phone and I was like, "I can't say that..ha. I can't say that in Seattle!"