by Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The ailing U.S. coal industry is ramping up its political and legal offensive to win approval for West Coast export terminals that could provide a lifeline to lucrative Asia markets.

Coal producers filed two recent lawsuits against governments in Washington state and California challenging local decisions to block port projects on environmental grounds. The industry is also lobbying the Trump administration to override the local bans…

Michael Greve, a law professor at George Mason University, said the plaintiffs would have to prove that Washington is favoring its own economic interests over those of other states – a tough standard to meet, particularly in a case involving an environmental ban.

In 2011, a Colorado court rejected a similar legal argument made by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, which advocates for fossil fuels. The institute had challenged a state law requiring investor-owned utilities to obtain 30 percent of their generation from renewable sources.

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