We want to call our readers’ attention to an article in the Vancouver Sun by David Brett. Brett has opened a vein of logical and reasoned thoughts about why we don’t only need to come to terms with the realities about our necessary relationship with coal, but why maybe, just maybe, coal deserves a bit more credit than it gets these days.

Brett writes:

Poor coal. It’s the mineral not even a mother could love. It’s the orphaned rock, dirty to burn and easy to hate. Vancouver was cheered recently for banning coal, even though it had no coal to ban. Oppose coal and you’re a rock star. Support coal and you’re booed offstage. Surely opposing West Coast coal exports to Asia is the smart, environmentally and morally right thing to do.

Or is it? A series of inconvenient realities suggest otherwise. …

Brett makes a case for the necessity of keeping coal in our energy production arsenal and describes global factors that are solid reasons to believe that the impulse to shun coal for emotional satisfaction is short-sighted and counterproductive. But he also wants remind folks that coal not only has a place in our economy, but that we may have forgotten to save a place for it in our hearts as well.

Coal is not just a much-loathed rock we can toss aside; it’s part of the fabric of our human existence. We have a complex relationship with coal built over millennia. We can’t rashly break it off over night. Coal needs a little love too.

Please meander over to the Vancouver Sun where you can read the entire piece. It’s well worth your time.

The debate over expanding capacity in Washington state ports to handle increased coal exports is going to be on the radar of voters and political leaders for some time and while I have only begun to examine the coal issue in any depth, one thing is clear about the debate over expanding coal exports from Washington ports — a well-funded army of environmental activists are determined to keep the public’s mental picture of coal trapped inside the dated Dickensian meme of soot-caked children in Victorian-era England.

We will be better served to make judgments about expanding coal exports by adjusting our attitudes to consider facts first as we weigh the considerable benefits port expansion could have on job creation and for reviving Washington’s advantage as a West Coast leader for international trade. Brett’s excellent article is a good place to start your reading.