Washington State will have perhaps the nation's greenest governor when Jay Inslee, an early visionary of America's clean energy economy, takes the helm in January.
Inslee, a congressman since 1999, was pushing for policies to spur investment in solar panels, wind turbines and electric car batteries long before it was mainstream.
Now, he will take office as one of the most controversial battles over the nation's energy and environmental future is raging in his backyard—whether to make the Pacific Northwest a hub for exporting coal to Asia.
Companies are angling to build two export facilities in Washington State from which 100 million tons of coal would be shipped to China, Japan and South Korea a year—about the same as what the United States exports now from East Coast and Gulf ports. They've applied for permits and are in the beginning stages of a complex state and federal approval process. In Oregon, three more proposals are underway.