Port of Coos Bay
Port of Coos Bay is located on the Oregon coast. It is the largest deep-draft coastal harbor between San Francisco Bay and Puget Sound, and is Oregon's second busiest maritime commerce center after the Port of Portland. The port was the site of a proposed coal export terminal that was abandoned after public pressure.
Proposed coal exports
In July 2011, it was reported that the port in Coos Bay, Oregon was considering coal exports. "We are in discussions with coal developers and have entered into nondisclosure agreements with those companies," Port of Coos Bay CEO Jeff Bishop. "We don't want anyone to be surprised."
Bishop stated the arrival of one coal train per day would create 100 ship calls per year. However, coal exports would bring too many ships for the cargo terminal to handle, stated Bishop. "If any coal terminal is developed in Coos Bay, it would have to be a stand-alone terminal."
In October 2011 the Port of Coos Bay signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with an unnamed company interested in shipping coal from Coos Bay, Oregon.
Oregon Gov. calls for review of coal export impacts
In April 2012 Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber stated that he wants an extensive federal government review of exporting coal to Asia through Northwest ports. The Governor said that coal exports could clog barge and train routes, increase diesel and coal dust pollution and boost amounts of toxic mercury drifting back to Oregon when Asian countries burn the coal.
However, Kitzhaber didn't take a stand for or against exporting coal, which supporters say would increase rural jobs and tax revenues in Oregon and Washington. Instead, his letter asked the federal government to address how increasing exports to Asia will "fit with the larger strategy of moving to a lower carbon future."
Shipping coal to Asia from Coos Bay is okay with U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio
In August 2012 Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio said he has few qualms about shipping coal to Asia through the Port of Coos Bay.
Rep. Peter DeFazio said that trying to block plans to ship coal to Asia won't stop countries like South Korea from burning coal to produce electricity. He added that free trade agreements make it illegal for the U.S. to block coal exports to South Korea.
In April 2013, the Port of Coos Bay announced that it had ended its agreement with Metro Ports of California. Earlier, two other participants in the deal -- Mitsui and Korean Electric Power Corporation -- ended their participation. According to activists, the reported developments had reduced but not eliminated the likelihood of coal exports from the port. According to the group Coos Waterkeeper, the port may still pursue coal export, but expensive rail improvements needed to accommodate coal trains make the prospects "highly unlikely."
October 2012: Jobs vs. environment in Eugene coal train debate
In early October 2012 dozens of coal-train protesters on Monday evening marched to the downtown library, where the City Council heard testimony on a resolution against shipping coal through a Port of Coos Bay terminal to Asia. During the meeting a number of people spoke in favor of the measure, expressing concerns about coal dust and climate change. But the council also heard from supporters, others spoke in favor of job creation from the terminal. The council is set to vote by the end of October 2012 on the measure. On October 22, 2012 the city council of Eugene passed a resolution 5-3 opposing the coal trains.
The port was damaged on March 11, 2011 by a tsunami caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Oregon and coal
- U.S. coal exports
- Coal exports
- Coal terminals
- Coal Exports from Northwest United States Ports
- "CB could become coal port again" Gail Elber, The World, July 23, 2011.
- "Port enters negotiations with coal shipper" Gail Elber, The World, October 21, 2011.
- "Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber calls for sweeping review of planned coal exports from Northwest ports" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, April 25, 2012.
- "Shipping coal to Asia from Coos Bay sounds good to Peter DeFazio" Associated Press, August 17, 2012.
- Scott Learn, "Port of Coos Bay coal-export proposal ends after 18 months of work," The Oregonian, April 1, 2013
- Scott Learn, "Port of Coos Bay coal-export proposal ends after 18 months of work," The Oregonian, April 01, 2013.
- "Jobs vs. environment in Eugene coal train debate" Associated Press, October 10, 2012.
- "Eugene OKs plastic bag ban, opposes coal trains" Corvallis Gazette Times, October 22, 2012.
- Jung, Helen (March 12, 2011). "Waves bring destruction to Oregon's south coast". The Oregonian. Unknown parameter