We ship China coal, they pollute the air , with no concern for the environment, and they ( China) makes cheap crap which they ship back to Americans, furthering our sick relationship with the most over-populated country in the world. Americans get a couple of jobs out of it, which most likely will go to illegal aliens from China and Mexico. The Schools will be bribed with large cash sums, furthering the dependency on China.
Two coal companies want to export coal through the Port of St. Helens
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 7:05 PM Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 6:22 AM
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian The Oregonian
A coal export terminal at the Port of St. Helens might help fill the rising demand for coal in China. .
Two big coal-industry players are proposing to export Montana and Wyoming coal through the Port of St. Helens, putting Oregon squarely in the mix as a shipping point to meet growing Asian demand.
On Jan. 25, the port’s commission will consider proposals from Kinder Morgan Terminals and Pacific Transloading, a subsidiary of Ambre Energy. Currently, Canada hosts the only West Coast coal export terminals.
A new terminal would bring badly needed jobs and development. It raises concerns with community and environmental activists, who worry about exporting dirty fuel and about hazardous coal dust escaping at ports and from trains running through the Columbia River Gorge and Portland.
“This is going to be extremely unpopular in Oregon,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “I’m positive the coal companies are going to have a big fight on their hands.”
Kinder Morgan, which operates more than 180 terminals in North America, would develop a traditional dry bulk export terminal at the port’s Port Westward industrial park near Clatskanie, using rail lines and building facilities to store and load coal, said Patrick Trapp, the port’s executive director.
The company has told the port the development would provide a minimum of 80 full-time jobs in addition to construction work, Trapp said. It’s not clear yet how much coal Kinder Morgan wants to export — a company representative did not return phone calls Tuesday afternoon.
Pacific Transloading would ship 3.5 million metric tons of coal a year, Ambre Energy North America said, 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.
Loading would be from an enclosed loading barge to prevent coal dust from escaping, the company said. Barges would be loaded upstream on the Columbia River at the Port of Morrow from trains arriving from the Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
The operation would provide 20 to 25 full-time jobs in Columbia County and another 15 to 20 jobs in Morrow County, the company said. Ambre Energy North America would also donate $300,000 to $350,000 annually to schools in Columbia and Morrow counties.
The project’s design would keep coal trains out of the Columbia River Gorge and Portland, and eliminate coal piles or storage facilities at the Port of St. Helens, spokesman Brian Gard said. If all went well, it could start operating in mid-2013.
“There are obviously people who will have concerns about the commodity,” Gard said. “But in terms of how we’re building it, we believe this represents a new standard.”
Ambre Energy, which partially owns a mine each in Montana and Wyoming, is also spearheading a proposal to build a conventional coal export terminal in nearby Longview, Wash. Gard said the Longview and St. Helens projects are “completely separate” and would not conflict.
The Port of St. Helens commission could choose to pursue both Kinder Morgan and Ambre’s proposals, pick one or pursue neither, Trapp said. The port has been clear with both companies that it expects a clean, environmentally sound operation, he said. The permitting and construction process would also include many chances for public comment.
“We’ve got two viable business operations, and they both want an equal opportunity to be considered,” Trapp said.
The West Coast is a minor player in coal export now. But proposals are active in Longview and Bellingham, Wash. The Port of Coos Bay is also talking with unnamed coal developers.
Industry analysts say coal companies are simply reacting to growing demand in Asia for low-cost energy, and if they don’t meet it, another country will. The United States has the world’s largest proven coal reserves, and coal from the Powder River Basin is low in sulfur and ash and fairly high in energy content, making it attractive to Asian markets.
Environmental groups note both Washington and Oregon are phasing out their only coal-fired power plants, which draw from the Powder River Basin. Those emissions, they say, shouldn’t simply be shifted to China, India and other Asian countries.
Energy needs in Asia are expected to represent 90 percent of coal demand growth in the next 20 years, according to the International Energy Agency. Globally, coal consumption increased fastest of any fossil fuel in the last decade, rising 46 percent despite concerns about climate change.