Natural gas is a direct competitor to coal. Natural gas is cleaner and can be used directly in turbines without boilers. When natural gas is used directly in a turbine it is more compatible with renewable wind and solar energy. For electric utilities, gas is a preferred fuel over coal due to less contaminates, no ash and a smaller carbon footprint per kilowatt hours of energy produced.
Natural gas supplies in the U.S. went from a near shortage five years ago to a glut due to the development of tight gas. The technology to produce this gas has only been perfected in the U.S. about ten years. This technology is being transferred to other countries. China is a large country with many areas where tight gas can be found. China will develop its own tight gas resources (John Kemp, Reuters Jan. 17). Russia to the north of China has conventional gas fields. All this gas can be transported inexpensively in pipelines.
Natural gas in and around China will directly compete with coal from the U.S. Will coal mined in Montana and Wyoming, put on trains travelling to Gateway Pacific Terminal then shipped out across the Pacific be cost competitive with domestic natural gas produced in China and Russia? I doubt it.
GPT is the long-term conversion of open Whatcom County land to industrial use. If the terminal becomes a white elephant where are the promised long-term jobs? What is the burden placed on our local communities?