Thursday, April 19, 2012

EPA Concerned About Port Coal Project

A Port of Morrow, Oregon project that would ship coal to Asia could potentially have significant impacts to both humans and the environment in the area according to a letter sent by the US Environmental Protection Agency to the Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the project.

In a letter sent to the Corps earlier this month, the EPA said it was concerned about potential diesel pollution from the Morrow Pacific project causing damage to people, animals and their surroundings and recommended that the Corps conduct a broad and thorough analysis of any cumulative impacts the project could have.

The Morrow Pacific project is a planned $110 million coal transfer and off-loading facility at the port, which is located on the Columbia River in Morrow County, Oregon. Trains would carry up to eight million tons of coal a year from Montana and Wyoming to barges at the port. The coal would then be transferred to vessels at the Port St. Helens and shipped to Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea.

The facility, which would be run by a subsidiary of Ambre Energy North America, would create 25 jobs with wages and benefits of $2.7 million per year with average salaries of $50,000 to $90,000, according to Ambre.

Morrow Pacific is just one of about eight coal-to-Asia shipping projects in the works or under review in the Pacific Northwest, including at the Port of St. Helens and Port of Coos Bay in Oregon and the Port of Grays Harbor in Washington.