Northwest rail lines provide routes for coal shipments to Asia
Sunday, June 24, 2012
1. CHERRY POINT: The Gateway Pacific Terminal could accommodate 54 million import/export tons of bulk commodities per year, largely coal exports. Status: Whatcom County, the Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are preparing a joint environmental impact statement. Pros: Backers say it would create 4,400 direct, indirect and induced jobs. Cons: Critics fear increased train traffic, train engine emissions and coal dust. Developer: Pacific International Terminals, a subsidiary of SSA Marine.
2. PORT OF GRAYS HARBOR: A possible $100 million facility in Hoquiam. The facility would export about 5.5 million tons of coal annually, company officials told The Daily World. Status: Unknown. Pros: The company says the project would create more than 60 full-time jobs and 160 construction jobs. Cons: Citizens for a Clean Harbor is concerned about coal being stockpiled near the Grays Harbor National Refuge. Developer: RailAmerica Inc.
3. COWLITZ COUNTY: A $650 million terminal to export as much as 44 million tons annually by 2018. Status: A multiyear construction project with a 2015 operational launch is proposed. The Department of Ecology will be a co-lead agency in evaluating the project, at Cowlitz County's request. The county has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to also co-lead the study. Pros: A study for project developers estimates 2,650 new jobs during construction period and 135 direct, permanent jobs at full build-out. Cons: Longview-based Landowners and Citizens for a Safe Community has raised many environmental concerns. Developer: Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview LLC, owned by Ambre Energy and Arch Coal Inc.
4. CLATSKANIE (ORE.): A $150 million to $200 million terminal at the Port of St. Helens' Port Westward Industrial Park in Clatskanie could export up to 30 million tons of coal annually. Status: Port of St. Helens commissioners approved an agreement with Kinder Morgan to pursue a coal-export operation. Pros: The company says it will create more than 80 full-time jobs and 150 construction jobs and will minimize harm to air, land and water. Cons: Concerns about secrecy. Columbia Riverkeeper sued the Port of St. Helens to force it to reveal its coal plans. The two parties settled, and the port agreed to release records. Developer: Kinder Morgan.
5. PORT OF MORROW (ORE.): Up to 8 million tons of coal per year would be hauled by rail to the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Ore. and then barged to the Port of St. Helens' Westward Industrial Park in Clatskanie where it would be loaded onto ships for export. Status: Port of St. Helens commissioners approved an agreement with Ambre Energy to pursue a coal-export operation. Pros: The project would create more than 3,700 direct, indirect and induced jobs, according to a study by ECONorthwest. Company officials say enclosed barges and loading facilities will reduce coal dust. Cons: Critics, including Columbia Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club, have raised concerns about local and global pollution. Developer: Ambre Energy.
6. OREGON INTERNATIONAL PORT OF COOS BAY (ORE.): The port reportedly is in negotiations with an unnamed company interested in shipping up to 10 million tons of coal annually from the North Spit of Coos Bay. The port's Coos Bay Rail Link would be involved in moving coal. Status: The port has declined to release the name of the company or details about the proposal. The Sierra Club has appealed for information, and that challenge is now before the Coos County Circuit Court.