“Restricting international trade in fossil fuels is not an effective policy to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions or to advance domestic economic interests, and we recommend against any such restrictions,” — Byron Dorgan, former U.S. Senator, testifying on behalf of the Bipartisan Policy Center
Somewhere today, in Seoul, South Korea, and a mother switches on a light, flooding her family kitchen with a warm morning glow. A plant operator checks a boiler, ensuring the facility has the power it needs to continue chugging along. A young entrepreneur boots up a computer, eager to start his day.
The thread that connects these individuals, and millions more across the Korean peninsula, may surprise you. Daily Korean life is powered heavily by coal, and due to limited domestic reserves, Korea is the world’s sixth largest importer of coal. In 2012, the United States exported approximately eight million metric tons of coal to South Korea, nearly half of that coming directly from Montana’s Spring Creek Mine outside of Decker.
“South Korea is actively building coal-fired generation, using the latest technology available. They are doing so based upon the fact that they believe coal will be a primary source of electricity for them into the foreseeable future,” said Todd O’Hair, senior manager of government affairs for Cloud Peak Energy, owner of the Spring Creek Min...