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Yesterday members of No Coal Eugene traveled up to Salem to participate in a rally at the Dept. of State Lands to tell Governor Kitzhaber to oppose coal exports in Oregon. The event was primarily organized by the Portland Sierra Club chapter, but people of other organizations and from all parts of the state came out to the rally. Here’s an excerpt from KEZI’s coverage of the rally:

“Oregon really has led the way in the nation towards building a clean energy economy and promoting clean air and clean water in healthy communities, and this is a major step in the wrong direction,” said Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign Organizer Laura Stevens.

“What we burn in Asia will come back to haunt us, and it will destroy this planet,” said Virginia Nugent.

“Organic farming is gone for several miles on either side of coal trains,” said Carol Ross.

Health experts say the black coal dust and particles emitted from coal trains will harm not only the environment, but residents as well.

“It causes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It’s harmful for people that are prone to asthma. It also causes heart disease,” said physician Dr. Andy Harris.

The group says another issue is the nearly mile-long trains blocking traffic.

“If there’s any emergency vehicles that have to get across town, that isn’t going to happen,” Dr. Harris said.

After the rally, citizens went inside the Dept. of State Lands to attend a board meeting at which Gov. Kitzhaber was present. Though coal exports weren’t on the agenda, the group sent a strong message to the governor about how Oregonians feel about our state being used as a conduit for dirty energy. Here is a statement from Kitzhaber’s communications director, as featured in the Statesman Journal:

“Gov. Kitzhaber is concerned about a range of unanswered questions about the impact of coal exports on consumers, infrastructure and the environment that should be addressed in a comprehensive way by the federal government before proceeding,” said Kitzhaber’s communications director Tim Raphael in am email. “The governor is exploring his options to engage and will ensure that any project obeys all state and federal laws to protect public health and the environment.”

Let’s keep up the movement to keep coal out of Oregon!

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