Win for Wildlife: Oregon Rejects Coal Exports

In a landmark decision today, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) rejected a necessary permit for Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific coal export project along the Columbia River.  This historic decision deals a severe blow to Ambre Energy’s struggling proposal and marks the first time a Pacific Northwest state agency has formally rejected a permit for one of the proposed coal export terminals.

Orca photo by Candice Emmons/NWFSC/NOAA
The decision to deny a coal export terminal permit in Oregon is a huge victory for orca. Photo by Candice Emmons/NWFSC/NOAA.
National Wildlife Federation Outreach Consultant Michael O’Leary’s take: “Coal’s hopes for shipping exports through the Northwest just went up in smoke.”

Over the past few years, the coal industry has quietly advanced plans to ship U.S. coal to foreign markets from ports along the west coast.  Oregon’s rejection of one of the three remaining proposed coal exports terminals is a direct results of over three years of work by NWF supporters, our partners in the Power Past Coal coalition.  Collectively, we have demonstrated significant and effective opposition to this project.

A huge step has been taken to protect the endangered orca’s crucial habitat and the clean waterways they depend on.   One of the key reasons Oregon provided for the permit denial is that the project “would unreasonably interfere with the paramount policy of this state to preserve the use of its waters for navigation, fishing, and public recreation.”  As wildlife enthusiasts and avid anglers, we commend Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber for standing up for orca, salmon, steelhead, and all of the species that depend on clean waterways.

This decision severely hinders any future progress on this dangerous project!  While Ambre can appeal the governor’s decision, this will take years.  Ambre cannot begin building its coal dock without this permit.

Thank you Governor Kitzhaber for protecting habitat for wildlife like orcas from the impacts of dirty fossil fuel projects.  And thank you to our community of wildlife advocates who have sent tens of thousands of letters and comments speaking out for wildlife and against coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.