Port of St. Helens
The Port of St. Helens was created in 1940 in Columbia City, Oregon along the Columbia River and is considered a deep water port.
- 1 Background
- 2 Port of St. Helens a candidate for coal export to Asia
- 3 Articles and Resources
The port is located approximately 30 miles north of Portland, Oregon. The port's Port Westward is being eyed as a potential coal export terminal, and was approved for two coal terminals by the port's commissioners in January 2012.
On May 2, 2012 Portland General Electric blocked Kinder Morgan’s multimillion-dollar proposal to construct a coal export terminal because of concerns over coal dust. PGE renewed a 99-year lease in 2008 on 852 acres of developable land at the Port of St. Helens-owned energy park near Clatskanie, Oregon. In turn, it can sublease the Port Westward property to other companies. However, in early May 2012 PGE denied the request by Kinder Morgan to construct a terminal on the site.
Port of St. Helens a candidate for coal export to Asia
In June 2011, The Oregonian reported that the Port of St. Helens in Columbia City, Oregon was being eyed as a potential Northwest port that would export coal to Asian countries. It was also reported that Columbia Riverkeeper, which opposes coal export, asked a judge to require St. Helens Port to release all of its coal-related documents. In a response, a lawyer for the port stated that doing so would violate a confidentiality agreement and "would result in the greatest harm to the public interest which can be imagined -- a loss of jobs in our community."
Oregon Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, wrote in a statement to The Oregonian that the terminal "should not happen in the dead of night. We must have an open, vigorous public debate before any projects move forward."
In January 2012 The Oregonian reported that Kinder Morgan Energy Partners would develop a dry bulk export terminal at the Port of St. Helens' Port Westward industrial park, using rail lines and building facilities to store and load coal.
Ambre Energy also announced that their subsidiary Pacific Transloading would ship 3.5 million metric tons of coal a year with potential to ship as much as 8 million metric tons with port approval. Coal would be shipped on covered barges, received at Port Westward and directly loaded onto about 50 ocean-going ships a year. Pacific Transloading would ship 3.5 million metric tons of coal a year with potential to ship as much as 8 million metric tons with port approval the company stated.
In January 2012 it was reported that the proposed coal terminal at Port Westward was forcing Rainier-area officials to examine whether they needed to expand rail lines through the heart of town to accommodate hundreds of rail cars daily.
Port of St. Helens coal export proposal get approval
On January 25, 2012 Port of St. Helens commissioners approved lease options for two coal terminals to Port Westward. The five-member commission unanimously approved a lease option from Pacific Transloading, a subsidiary of Australian coal company Ambre Energy, to operate a coal barge unloading dock at Port Westward. Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a lease option from Kinder Morgan Energy Partners to build what could be the largest coal terminal on the U.S. West Coast.
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."
Activists rally in Portland against exporting coal from Northwest ports
On May 7, 2012 several hundred activists gathered in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square to oppose the export of Montana and Wyoming coal from Northwest ports. Activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chief prosecuting attorney for Hudson Riverkeeper and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, spoke to the crowd. Kennedy said that coal would corrupt politicians, damage health and the environment and "turn government agencies into the sock puppets of the industries they're supposed to regulate."
May 2012: Seattle City Council opposes coal export ports
On May 29, 2012 the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the development of coal-export terminals in Washington state after raising concerns about increased train traffic and potential harm to health and the environment. That coal would be mined in the Powder River Basin.
Articles and Resources
- "Port of St. Helens potential candidate for coal export to Asia" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, June 15, 2011.
- "Port of St. Helens" Port of St. Helens Homepage, accessed June 15, 2011.
- "Coal in Clatskanie: Commissioners approve 2 Port Westward export proposals" Erik Olson, The Daily News Online, January 26, 2012.
- "EXCLUSIVE: PGE blocks major Oregon coal export project" South County Spotlight, Stover E Hanger III, May 2, 2012.
- "Two coal companies want to export coal through the Port of St. Helens" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, January 17, 2012.
- "Oregon officials ponder potential rail expansion for coal terminal" Erik Olson, TDN.com, January 19, 2012.
- "Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber calls for sweeping review of planned coal exports from Northwest ports" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, April 25, 2012.
- "Kennedy, activists rally in Portland against exporting coal from Northwest ports" Scott Learn, Oregonian, May 7, 2012.
- "Seattle City Council opposes coal-export ports" Phoung Lee, Associated Press, May 30, 2012.
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