(Adds U.S. lumber trade fight, coal statistics, coal producer
By Nicole Mordant
VANCOUVER May 2 British Columbia Premier
Christy Clark, campaigning one week before an election, said on
Tuesday her ruling Liberal party will apply a levy on thermal
coal exports from the Canadian province if it is re-elected and
the federal government does not ban exports.
Clark, whose Liberal party is neck-and-neck with the
opposition New Democratic Party in polls ahead of a May 9
election, last week called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau to ban thermal coal exports through British Columbia.
The move is in retaliation against the United States for
slapping duties on Canadian softwood lumber. A handful of U.S.
miners ship coal through B.C. ports. Meanwhile, British Columbia
is Canada's largest producer of softwood lumber, and last year
exported C$4.6 billion ($3.35 billion) worth to the United
If the Canadian government does not ban exports, a
re-elected B.C. Liberal government would develop regulations to
levy a carbon price on all thermal coal shipped through B.C.
ports, Clark said in a statement.
The levy will reflect the greenhouse gas emissions caused by
the coal's extraction, processing, transportation and
combustion, she said in a statement.
A coal levy, which would be the world's first greenhouse
gas benchmark for thermal coal according to the Liberals, would
make it uncompetitive to ship thermal coal through B.C. ports,
Between 70-90 percent of coal produced in B.C. is
metallurgical, or steel-making coal, not thermal coal, which is
burned for heat to produce electricity.
U.S.-based Cloud Peak Energy would be the biggest
U.S. coal producer affected by a B.C. export ban or levy,
Jefferies analyst Christopher LaFemina said in an April 28 note
Cloud Peak's shares were 12.5 cents firmer at $3.65 on the
New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon. Its stock had
dropped nearly 21 percent to as low as $3.10 after Clark
proposed a coal ban last week.
U.S. coal is railed to B.C. ports by Burlington Northern
Santa Fe Corp, a railroad owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire
B.C. environmental groups have called on the government for
years to ban thermal coal exports, saying it is a dirty source
Some 38 percent of decided voters back the B.C. Liberals
compared to 37 percent for the NDP, according to the latest
Justason Market Intelligence poll.
($1 = 1.3720 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Steve
Orlofsky and Chris Reese)