Portland hearing on coal export proposal

About 800 people turned out in Portland for an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality hearing on Ambre Energy’s proposal to export coal through Oregon to Asia.

The Oregonian reported that coal export opponents appeared to outnumber supporters at the Thursday night meeting. Many wore red T-shirts bearing the Sierra Club campaign’s slogan, “Beyond coal.”

Supporters of the proposal sat in several rows toward the back of the room. They include representatives of coal companies, terminal developers and labor groups.

This is the last of three public hearings before the department considers whether to issue draft permits by the end of February.

The company says it will take steps to reduce coal dust and other pollution, but the proposal is opposed by The Sierra Club, Columbia Riverkeeper and other environmental groups.

Coal from Montana and Wyoming would be delivered by train to barges at Boardman. Tugs would push the barges 218 miles down the Columbia River to the Port of St. Helens where the coal would be loaded on ocean-going ships.