Montana has the largest coal reserves in the world, and much of that coal may be shipped to Asia. However, the state of Washington is threatening environmental restrictions on a coal export terminal.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has joined with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in submitting joint comments regarding scoping of an environmental impact statement for an export terminal in Longview, Washington.

"There are a number of west coast ports that are available to expand exports of Montana coal to Asia, and one of them is in Longview, Washington," said Fox on Wednesday, November 20. "The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing that the EIS include environmental impacts all over the globe."

Fox said the proposed restrictions are unconstitutional.

"According to the U.S. Constitution supremacy clause, and the commerce clause, it's just not possible for the state of Washington to delay or even unreasonably prohibit the expansion of these coal ports on the basis of things that might go on halfway around the world," Fox said. "We're just making sure that the people of Montana have a place at the table, and that we uphold the constitution so that Montana's interests are protected."

Fox expressed frustration at how the Obama administration has declared what has been called "a war on coal."

"As President Obama's administration uses the executive powers and unreasonable regulations to clamp down on coal-fired generation plants in the United States, the foreign markets look more attractive," Fox said. "The Crow Tribe, and many unions, are in support of the Longview terminal because they know the production of coal means jobs for Montanans."

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox