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Big Coal Launches Sneak Attack on Oregon – Speak Up NOW to Protect Wildlife
An unexpected move by Big Coal has shoved Oregon to the front lines of the battle against dirty energy, and puts wildlife and communities along the Columbia River in serious danger.
Back room negotiations between Ambre Energy – one of the world’s largest coal companies – and officials at the Port of Morrow led to a surprise announcement that the port would host the first coal export facility on the west coast, capable of sending almost 9 million tons every year to China. Community groups have been closely tracking several proposals from Big Coal, but the Port of Morrow wasn’t high on the list of perceived threats until now.
In an effort to bypass a thorough review by government agencies, Ambre Energy is taking a roundabout route: they plan to move the coal by rail from Montana to the Port of Morrow (near Boardman, OR), dump the coal onto barges that will travel up the Columbia River, and then ship it overseas from the Port of St. Helens.
But the same problems that plague other proposals still await this one, including air and water pollution from coal dust and diesel, mile-long trains cutting through communities east of Boardman, and the re-casting of Oregon as a stooge for Big Coal’s dirty work.
If you needed more evidence that Big Coal doesn’t care about Oregon (outside of boosting their profits), just listen to Alan Fore, a spokesman for Ambre Energy:
What we’re proposing is not something we don’t already do. We’re not reinventing the wheel. It’s just a location.
How true. Ambre and its fellow mega-corporations won’t hesitate to destroy the Pacific Northwest, just like they have destroyed Appalachia, the Powder River Basin, and the Allegheney range. Sure, this destruction won’t take the form of open-pit mining or dynamited mountaintops, but when tanker traffic and rail traffic and poisonous runoff turn the Columbia River into one big industrial zone, it still counts. Well, hey, it’s just a location.
We need your help. The Oregon Department of State Lands can approve or deny a permit Ambre Energy needs to move forward, and they are holding a public comment period until the end of the month. Their decision on the Port of Morrow could set precedent for the bigger battle to come, and we can’t afford to lose this one.