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via Columbia River Keeper. Jan 20, 2012:
Two coal companies want to export coal through the Port of St Helens
It is reported that two shipping companies are proposing to export coal through the Port of St. Helens, putting Oregon in the mix as a shipping point to meet growing Asian demand.
On January 25, the port commission will consider separate proposals from Kinder Morgan Terminals and Pacific Transloading. A new terminal would bring badly needed jobs and development. It raises concerns with community and environmental activists who worry about exporting dirty fuel and about coal dust escaping from trains running through the Columbia River Gorge and Portland.
Mr Brett VandenHeuvel executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper said “This is going to be extremely unpopular in Oregon. I’m positive the coal companies are going to have a big fight on their hands.”
Mr Patrick Trapp the port’s executive director said Kinder Morgan would develop a traditional bulk export terminal at the port’s Port Westward property using rail lines and building facilities to store and load coal,. The development would provide a minimum of 80 full-time jobs in addition to construction work.
He said that Pacific Transloading would receive coal by barge and directly load it onto ocean going ships. He added that “We’ve got two viable business operations and they both want an equal opportunity to be considered.”
Mr Trapp said it’s not clear yet how much coal the companies want to export. The commission could choose to pursue both proposals and one or neither.
He said that the port has been clear with both companies that it expects a clean, environmentally sound operation. The permitting and construction process which would likely take years would also include many chances for public comment.
The West Coast is a minor player in coal export now. But with Asian demand growing, there are active proposals for terminals in Longview, Wash and Bellingham, Wash. Those proposals involve coal companies with mines in the Powder River Basin a swath of productive coal lands in Montana and Wyoming.
(Sourced from http://www.oregonlive.com)