CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead heads to Washington state next week to push for access to ocean ports to allow export of Wyoming coal to Asia even as many Northwest politicians and residents voice increasing concern about the effects of burning coal on global warming.
Mead, a Republican who says he’s skeptical global warming is caused by humans, has made trade missions to Asia and is eager to start exports from Wyoming, the top coal-producing state.
Wyoming is casting about for new international coal markets in the face of flagging domestic demand. New coal-plant construction in the United States has sputtered to a halt due to the combination of cheap natural gas and tough new federal coal-emissions standards.
“Expanding markets for Wyoming products is a priority I have engaged for some time,” Mead said Wednesday. “I know about the demand in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan for our coal.”
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Mead intends to be in Washington next Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with legislators and business leaders and to tour the Millennium Bulk Terminals, a planned coal port near Longview. Another terminal has been proposed for Cherry Point in Whatcom County.
Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said the governor doesn’t intend to visit with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat who has expressed concerns about the prospect of exporting coal to Asia through the state.