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Friday, September 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Coal industry takes major hit with permit denial in Oregon

Bad news for the U.S. coal industry as another proposed coal export terminal was turned down.The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) rejected a vital permit for Ambre Energy’s proposed Morrow Pacific coal export project along the Columbia River. The historic decision deals a severe blow to the struggling coal industry and marks the first time a Pacific Northwest state agency formally rejects a permit for one of the proposed coal export terminals.

“Northwest communities and leaders agree: coal exports are not in the best interest of the region. Throughout Oregon and the Northwest, thousands of business owners, elected officials, doctors, faith leaders and others have demanded that Governor Kitzhaber and the State of Oregon protect Oregon families and frontline communities from the dangers of coal exports. Today, those calls were answered,” said Arlene Burns, city council president of Mosier, Ore.

From Climate SolutionsThe denial comes on the heels of Ambre Energy’s repeated failures to provide information to the department about the project’s scope and impacts. Each year, Ambre Energy would bring more than eight million tons of coal by rail from the Powder River Basin to the Port of Morrow where Columbia River barge traffic would double to accommodate carrying the product through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

“From this decision to news that China’s coal consumption levels are expected to decline, the writing on the wall is clear: Coal exports are going nowhere fast,” Devin Martin, Associate Organizing Representative with Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign in Louisiana. “This decision will only catalyze local movements against coal exports throughout North America. From British Columbia to Washington State to the Gulf of Mexico, communities are saying no to coal exports.”

Over the past several months, more than 20,000 citizens have contacted Governor Kitzhaber requesting a denial of the permit. In May, 86 elected officials from Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Washington urged Governor Kitzhaber and the DSL to protect frontline communities throughout the Northwest by rejecting the permit. Close to 600 Northwest businesses and business leaders have also either expressed concern or outright opposition to coal export.

 




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Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.