Ore. coal port gets key draft permit

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — An Australian energy company has cleared a key hurdle for a terminal on the Oregon side of the Columbia River that would ship coal from the Great Plains to Asia.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Friday issued draft permits regulating coal dust at the Coyote Island Terminal LLC at the Port of Morrow in Boardman.

The department will hold public hearings on the air and water pollution permits July 9 in Portland and Hermiston.

Ambre Energy plans to build a totally enclosed facility to unload coal trains from Montana and Wyoming and load the cargo onto barges for transport downriver to the Port of St. Helens, where it would be loaded in huge ships to carry it to Asia.