No Coal Eugene presents “Northwest Coal Export & The Community Bill of Rights,” a pamphlet with lots of info on coal export, how it affects Eugene and how it can be stopped. We’ll be distributing hard copies around Eugene and at neighborhood events. Please share with your friends!
BACKGROUND ON COAL EXPORT
The coal giants — Peabody, Arch, and the like — are seeking outlets in the Pacific Northwest to export strip-mined coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asian markets. They have proposed six coal export terminal projects in Cherry Point, Longview and Grays Harbor, Wash., and St. Helens, Boardman and Coos Bay, Ore. If all of the proposals succeed, over 150 million tons of coal would be shipped through the Northwest every year. That’s three times the whole country’s current coal export.
In December 2011, the Port of Coos Bay announced “Project Mainstay,” a collaboration between the Port of Coos Bay and “unnamed partners” to build a coal export terminal on the North Spit. Of the six ports considering export proposals, Coos Bay is the only one that hasn’t disclosed the name of the coal company it’s in talks with. The Sierra Club and Beyond Toxics have requested information on the plans. The Port charged each group over $20,000 in fees for the documents and appealed the Coos County District Attorney’s decision to waive most of the fees.2 Oregonians still don’t know the details of the deal and how it will affect them.
Coos Bay was previously seen as a less viable port for coal export because of depth and accessibility. Last year, however, the Port of Coos Bay updated and reopened the Eugene-Coos Bay Rail Link, and in December Oregon’s Department of State Lands approved a plan to dredge the Coos Bay estuary.
Project Mainstay would have at least two full trains to Coos Bay and two empty trains back to the Powder River Basin rolling through Eugene every day.3 The trains typically carry 125 cars with 120 tons of coal per car and measure a mile and a half. Normal freighters require one diesel locomotive; coal trains need four.