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More Than 800 Gather At Portland Coal Meeting

More than 800 people gathered in Portland Thursday night for a meeting about the Morrow Pacific coal export project.

The project would ship U.S. coal to Asia using the Columbia River for part of the trip. The Morrow Pacific project is backed by a company called Ambre energy.

One opponent of the export project came to the meeting dressed as Santa Claus and handed out packets of coal. He told people the company is on his naughty list.

This was the last of a series of informational meetings held by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The agency is considering air and water quality permits for a terminal that would transfer coal from trains to barges in Boardman.

Supporters of the project say DEQ would ensure the company controls its air and water pollution. But opponent Bonnie McKinlay says there are a lot of environmental impacts the agency isn’t looking at.

McKinlay said, “They’re not even discussing the barges leaving the Port of Morrow or the trains filled with coal coming from the Powder River Basin not to mention the bigger picture of the coal being shipped to Asia where it will be burned in coal-fired plants.”

The DEQ is collecting input on the permitting process. A formal public comment period on the permits will be open at a later date.

For more on this and other environmental stories, visit Cassandra’s Ecotrope blog.

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