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Mead to Washington state on coal mission

May 29, 2014 - By Ben Neary, The Associated Press

Wyoming is casting about for new international coal markets in the face of flagging domestic demand.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead heads to Washington state next week to push for access to ocean ports to allow export of Wyoming coal to Asia even as many politicians and residents in the Northwest voice increasing concern about the effects of burning coal on global warming.

Mead, a Republican who says he's skeptical that global warming is caused by humans, has made trade missions to Asia and is eager to start exports from Wyoming, the nation's leading coal-producing state.

Wyoming is casting about for new international coal markets in the face of flagging domestic demand. New coal plant construction in the United States has sputtered to a halt, sandbagged by the combination of cheap natural gas and tough new federal coal emissions standards.

"Expanding markets for Wyoming products is a priority I have engaged for some time," Mead said Wednesday. "I know about the demand in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan for our coal. Increasing exports, including coal, will lead to economic growth and more jobs."

Mead intends to be in Washington state Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with legislators and business leaders and to tour the Millennium Bulk Terminals, a planned coal port on the Columbia River near Longview, Wash.

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