Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Independent experts to examine Utah coal counties’ plan to invest in California export terminal

State officials are looking for independent consultants to evaluate Utah's proposed investment in a California export terminal — a plan that has sparked controversy in both states from critics who question the environmental impact of shipping coal and future demand for it.

The proposed loan is a new approach for the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB), which decides how to spend millions the state reaps every year from federal mineral royalties and leases. SB246 bypasses restrictions on CIB funding, allowing the board to create a new revolving loan program designed to help move rural Utah's natural resources to distant markets.

First up is the $53 million loan sought by four coal-producing counties that want to invest in a proposed deep-water terminal under development in Oakland. Other proposals that could seek access to the new fund are a transmission line, oil pipeline and rail line serving the Uinta Basin's oil patch and a 48-mile rail spur connecting Salina to the coal load-out on the Union Pacific line at Levan. Salt Lake Tribune