175 foot pile of coal about to be shipped out.
On our way to Louisiana, we passed over the Sam Houston Toll Bridge that crosses the Port of Houston
and the Houston Ship Channel. Houston is 3rd largest port in the U.S. and has the largest petrochemical port in the world.
The expansion of a terminal along the heavily industrialized Houston Ship Channel normally receives little attention.
But Kinder Morgan Energy Partners’ refurbished two docks and opened a new front in the fight over coal.
Environmentalists are mounting a campaign to stop the projects and a dozen other proposed shipping terminals along
the Gulf Coast because the docks, if built to capacity, could export as much as 200 million tons of coal
per year from Appalachia and the Rockies to Asia and Europe.
They say exporting the sandy black gold will threaten local air quality, particularly near docks and
rail lines, while encouraging China and others to burn more coal and increase emissions of carbon dioxide
and other climate-altering gases.
“It’s hard to see how Houston wins,” said Al Armendariz, a former Environmental Protection Agency official
who leads the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign in Texas.