We’ve had a busy last few weeks here at No Coal Eugene: our various committees have been planning actions, talking to the media and drafting a city ordinance. But we wanted to share a small victory from a few weeks ago, when the Eugene Sustainability Commission approved a letter opposing coal trains to send to City Council. The full letter can be viewed here.

“Allowing coal trains to pass through our City is not compatible with state and regional efforts to close coal plants, nor with local goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, enhance public health and promote local food production,” the statement reads. “Furthermore, coal mining, export and combustion … undermine Eugene’s efforts to reduce emissions that cause climate change and develop clean energy jobs.”

In the letter the Commission recommends the following actions be taken by the City:

  • Direct the City Manager and appropriate staff to identify all possible actions the City can take to prevent the transport of coal through Eugene;
  • Pass a resolution or ordinance to oppose coal export from Coos Bay and transport through Eugene;
  • Inform Governor Kitzhaber, Port of Coos Bay officials and coal companies involved in proposals to transport coal through Eugene, that the City will enforce all applicable local, state and federal laws protecting public health, safety and air and water quality to prevent the transport of coal through the City; and
  • Join other cities in Oregon to lobby the Governor and legislature to oppose coal export terminals in the State of Oregon.

Some interesting figures were thrown into the letter, including the number of local jobs that may be created through coal exports in Coos Bay (30 to 45); the amount of coal dust that escapes from each train car (3% of a “typically” 100-ton load); and the amount of mercury deposited in the Northwest via coal burning in China each year (1,400 tons).

The Sustainability Commission also addressed letters regarding coal exports from Rep. Peter Defazio and the Port of Coos Bay International – more on those letters soon!


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