King Coal Ups The Ante In Oregon

By scott parkin
Coal train

The reports of King Coal’s demise appear to be exaggerated. At least for now.

After a year of fighting for coal export terminals proposals in Washington, coal companies are moving south into Oregon. Last week, it was announced that port officials at the Port of St. Helen’s, OR approved proposals to allow coal export terminals on the Oregon coast.

King Coal’s plan is to take the coal being mined from leases in Wyoming and Montana that are being opened up by the Obama’s Administration’s energy plan, transport it by rail to ports in the Pacific Northwest, and ship it overseas to Asian markets for big profits. There are already active efforts in the Washington port towns of Longview and Bellingham.

The Port of St. Helen’s agreements with Houston-based port logistics company Kinder Morgan and Australia-based coal company Ambre Energy would ship up to 38 million tons a year and is the first proposal to be approved in Oregon. It’s also reported that the ports in Coos Bay, OR are also in talks with unnamed coal companies about coal export terminal development.

Earlier in the year, Oregon’s Gov. John Kitzhaber had stated no coal would be exported through the state without an “open vigorous public debate.” It’s pretty clear that King Coal and the Oregon political establishment don’t want that at all.

For environmental and climate activists in the Pacific Northwest, I’ll remind them of the words of the late Judy Bonds — “Fight Harder.