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This report examines the legal and regulatory framework for U.S. coal exports, focusing in particular on the significant improvements in railroad and port infrastructure that will be necessary in order to boost the volume of overseas coal shipments to the degree anticipated by recent industry projections. While existing railroads and ports have the capacity to handle current coal export volumes, much more infrastructure will be needed to meet surging foreign demand. A wide variety of new construction projects are under consideration to expand capacity and relieve congestion. These range from double-tracking existing Class I railroad rights of way to dredging harbors and installing a variety of new facilities to load, store, and ship coal from West Coast seaports. Because the phenomenon of large-scale U.S. coal exports is new, no comprehensive analysis has yet been undertaken to explore the federal, state and local laws applicable to each step in the process. It is our hope that this report will contribute to ongoing debates surrounding this important issue.


Environmental Law | Law