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Environment | Energy

Oregon Utility Vetoes St. Helens Coal Export Terminal

PGE's natural gas fired electricity plant on the Columbia River near Clatskanie, Oregon.

PGE's natural gas fired electricity plant on the Columbia River near Clatskanie, Oregon.

Flickr/Sam Beebe

Portland General Electric may have put the brakes on one of two coal export terminals proposed for the Port of St. Helens.

The regional utility leases land at the port where Kinder Morgan wants to build a coal export facility.

But PGE spokesman Steve Corson says the coal export project isn’t compatible with his company’s natural gas power plant nearby.

“The concern is that the coal dust could interfere with our equipment at the plant, and with operations of that equipment, which involves various kinds of air intake and so forth,” he says. “Our plants there represent an investment of literally hundreds of millions of dollars and are an important component of service to our customers.”

PGE has declined to sublease land to Kinder Morgan for the proposed coal terminal. But Corson says PGE isn’t necessarily opposed to all coal export projects.

A port official agrees. The South County Spotlight, which first reported the story, quoted Port of St. Helens Commissioner Colleen DeShazer saying the setback doesn’t necessarily mean Kinder Morgan’s plans have been scuttled.

“I don’t think any one thing will stop the project,” she told the newspaper.

(OPB’s Rob Manning contributed to this report. This was first reported for OPB News.)

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