A Piece of Coal Without a Train is Just a Rock
Guest Post by Kathy Srabian
Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal producer, is stuck two to three states inland. As with so many of our natural resources, coal is looking for a way to reach China’s market place. Coal without a train is just a rock laying on the ground. Add a train to carry it somewhere, though, and you have a product people want. Coal and trains have a symbiotic relationship.
“Coal was discovered in Wyoming by the Fremont Expedition of 1843. Commercial mining began with the arrival of the railroad.
Nearly 90 percent of the stock in Wyoming Coal was held by heads of the Union Pacific. Wyoming Coal leased the land from the railroad, and then sold their coal to the railroad for a profit. In 1874 a government investigation terminated the agreement between the two companies, at which point Union Pacific took over the mines. By controlling the only means of transporting coal, the Union Pacific established a monopoly on coal production.” http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Wyoming_and_coal#GE_Energy_pushes_coal_gasification_and_exports_to_China
Coal can not just waltz into a port. It needs a terminal that suits its big bulky needs as it finds its way to the Asian market. Ports in Washington and Oregon are being looked at but what if a railway was built from Eureka to connect with already existing lines in the east? Kazam! Coal would be able to travel to China.
Where would the private funding come from to build this rail? It’s there in the coal industry, in the rail industry, and perhaps in the pockets of the man who owns a great deal of land around Humboldt Bay.