Kudos to three elected officials — Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and John Kitzhaber and U.S. Rep. Ron Wyden of Oregon — for their concerns on the proposals to increase coal shipments through the Columbia River Gorge. Inslee and Kitzhaber co-wrote a well-written letter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality stating their agencies are: "committed to a rigorous, fair and objective process to review these applications …," and Wyden requested that a full environmental impact statement be done for the Port of Morrow barging proposal.
Those who say any job is a good job are being shortsighted. The benefits of a small number of jobs that these proposals would create at the terminals would be far outweighed by the negative effects of shipping upwards of 100 million tons of coal through the Columbia River Gorge.
To allow a foreign company, Australia-based Ambre Energy, to ship coal mined on public land, in uncovered coal cars that can release 500 to 2000 pounds of coal per car per trip (BNSF Railway's own numbers), through the largest national scenic area in the U.S., to then be shipped to Asia, is wrong on several levels. As a taxpayer, I am vehemently opposed to this. You should be, too.