Port of St. Helens

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The Port of St. Helens was created in 1940 in Columbia City, Oregon along the Columbia River and is considered a deep water port.

Location

The port is located in Columbia City, approximately 30 miles north of Portland, Oregon.[1]

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Proposed coal exports

The Port of St. Helens owns the 1,700-acre Port Westward property and has said it wants more space there for industry expansion.[2]

In January 2012 two companies proposed to export Montana and Wyoming coal from the Powder River Basin through Port Westward: Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and Pacific Transloading, a subsidiary of Ambre Energy. Kinder Morgan proposed 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 proposed that their subsidiary Pacific Transloading 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.[3][4][5][6]

On May 8, 2013, Kinder Morgan officials announced they were dropping plans to build the coal terminal at Port Westward. According to a spokesperson for Kinder Morgan: “After months (and) many months of this analysis ... we determined we could not find a site on this footprint that we could construct.”[7]

Proposed Northwest Coal Export Locations.
Coal Export Threatens the Northwest.

Industrial expansion

In January 2014 the Columbia County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a plan to rezone 837 acres of farmland to industrial near Port of St. Helens's Port Westward. Pat Trapp, the port’s executive director, said no projects have been identified for the rezoned land.[8] Port of St. Helens officials say no coal developments, aside from a proposal by Ambre Energy to transport coal to Port Westward via covered barge, are currently being considered for the energy park, as the withdrawal of Kinder Morgan from plans to build a coal terminal at Port Westward had soured port commissioners, at least for now, on the idea of another coal project at the site.[9]

Community activism against coal exports

Activists rally in Portland against exporting coal from Northwest ports

Coal Rally Against Exporting Coal Through Pacific Northwest.

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."[10]

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.[11]

Articles and Resources

References

  1. "Port of St. Helens potential candidate for coal export to Asia" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, June 15, 2011.
  2. "Oil train, coal export opponent protests industrial land expansion approved at Port Westward," Oregon Live, Jan 29, 2014.
  3. "Two coal companies want to export coal through the Port of St. Helens" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, January 17, 2012.
  4. "Port of St. Helens" Port of St. Helens Homepage, accessed June 15, 2011.
  5. "Coal in Clatskanie: Commissioners approve 2 Port Westward export proposals" Erik Olson, The Daily News Online, January 26, 2012.
  6. "Two coal companies want to export coal through the Port of St. Helens" Scott Learn, The Oregonian, January 17, 2012.
  7. "Kinder Morgan scraps Port Westward coal terminal proposal," The Daily News, May 08, 2013.
  8. "Oil train, coal export opponent protests industrial land expansion approved at Port Westward," Oregon Live, Jan 29, 2014.
  9. "Opponents of Port Westward expansion have their say at Clatskanie hearing," South Sounty Spotlight, Oct 11, 2013.
  10. "Kennedy, activists rally in Portland against exporting coal from Northwest ports" Scott Learn, Oregonian, May 7, 2012.
  11. "Seattle City Council opposes coal-export ports" Phoung Lee, Associated Press, May 30, 2012.

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