Brian Schweitzer's two terms as the 23rd governor of Montana drew to a close Jan. 7. In mid-December 2012, Schweitzer spoke with SNL Energy on topics including coal development, wind generation and his prospects as a potential secretary of energy. Second in a two-part series.
So how do you account for the export terminal plans going forward in Washington state?
[Ambre Energy Ltd.] has an active interest because they and Spring Creek own this 9,500-Btu/lb coal. But plans? You call those plans? I don't see the plan that's getting built. A plan is when you put it on a piece of paper and pay somebody to start pouring concrete. I've been out there looking at these things. I think Cherry Point is dead.
The Millennium project in Cowlitz County there that Ambre has proposed, that is far out into the distance. Ambre has also got a plan that they hope to get built along the Columbia River on the Oregon side. But I think that Oregon has poked a big hole in that balloon. So the only export terminal that we really have is in Vancouver, and now they've got their locals up in arms when Westshore has proposed to increase from about 27 [million] to about 30 million tons.
Ten years from now, maybe there will be some export capacity on the West Coast, but for right now, what we have is completely full and what has been proposed is probably dead — and not even dead in the water, just dead.