Decision-makers finally said “no” to coal exports!  

Mary Abrams, Director, Department of State LandsThe Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) denied a key permit necessary for Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific coal export proposal. Ambre’s dirty coal project would have sent hundreds of coal trains through the region, thousands of coal barges down the Columbia River, and further disrupted our climate with dangerous carbon pollution.

Mary Abrams of the Department of State Lands and Governor Kitzhaber listened to our broad and deep coalition from across the region and made the right choice.

Send a message to DSL Director Mary Abrams and Governor Kitzhaber today, and thank them for their leadership!

Time and again Ambre Energy has shown disregard for the public and for agency requests to receive more information about their intentions and coal export project impacts. This decision shows that the impacts from exporting coal are far too risky for Oregon families and the Northwest assets we all share, like our air, our climate, and rivers like the Columbia River.

This is a win for Northwest communities who are leading the fight against coal exports, and an historic moment for the whole country – we can do better than mining and transporting dirty coal through our communities. Our families deserve and will accept nothing less than this kind of leadership that protects our health, safety, economies, and climate. And we couldn’t have done this without your hard work!

While we celebrate this landmark victory, we are not done yet. We will continue to fight Ambre Energy and other community threats, like the coal export facility at Longview proposed by Ambre Energy’s subsidiary, Millennium Bulk Logistics.

Send a thank you note to DSL Director Mary Abrams and Governor Kitzhaber today!

More information below.

The big takeaway:

For nearly four years, communities across the region have been telling Northwest decision-makers that coal exports are wrong for the future of our states, our region, the country, and the world. Today, our persistent opposition has been answered by an Oregon state agency decision – a decision that has global implications.

The Oregon Department of State Lands has denied the removal-fill permit needed by Ambre Energy to move forward with the construction of the coal dock at the Port of Morrow.

Coal’s window of opportunity is rapidly closing, and Ambre’s setback is the tipping point – Last week marked the announced retirement of 177 of our US coal plants. At this pace, it is likely that half of the US coal plants will have agreements in place to retire by the time of the Paris Climate talks in December 2015. US coal use domestically has plummeted. Yet, despite our declining use of coal, the rush to ship it offshore to international markets is failing.  We are seeing that communities far and wide do not want coal – period. We don’t want it mined, transported, or burned, no matter where we live. Ambre Energy can pack up, go home, and write a different business plan, because people around the world are growing even stronger in their opposition to the use of coal for energy. China is banning the use of coal in Beijing and given the continued air quality issues, more provinces are likely to join them. South Korea now has an import tax on coal. In India, communities continue to fight new coal-fired power plants. In Australia, new coal export proposals are being cancelled as opposition to new mines continues to grow.

Courage, leadership, protection – A state agency has determined that this project is not in the best interest of Oregonians or the state’s resources. Backed by 20,000 state residents, 3,000 doctors, 600 businesses, and 86 elected officials, it’s clear that this determination is widely shared. We are hopeful this will provide courage to decision-makers at all levels to use the full extent of their authority and wisdom to protect our communities from dirty coal. As state and local decision-makers in the Gulf of Mexico face increasing pressure from impacted communities to stand up to Big Coal and protect their families, we hope they will also recognize that their constituents do not want it, and that we can do better. This is not a radical thing for state decision-makers to do – they are simply doing their job. Ambre Energy and their counterparts are on the wrong side of history, and Oregonians and their decision-makers are on the right side. In the wake of this decision, we will only see more opposition grow, and greater momentum among leaders to keep coal out of our communities for good.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What does the decision actually mean for Ambre Energy’s proposed coal export terminal?

The decision deals a severe blow to Ambre Energy’s struggling proposal.The denial comes on the heels of Ambre’s repeated failures to provide information about the project scope and impacts to the DSL. Overall, Ambre Energy has been plagued by financial questions and has made little progress in obtaining state or federal permits.

Couldn’t Ambre still get other permits?

Without the state lands permit, Ambre Energy can’t begin the in-water activity needed to build the proposed facility’s dock, a critical step to moving forward with their beleaguered project.

What are the implications for ConnectOregon projects that would fund this project?

Ambre Energy has experienced setback after setback, from failing to provide DSL with basic project impact information, to being unable to secure the state lands permit. Additionally, recent studies show that China’s coal consumption is projected to decline. This project is a financial train wreck. It makes no sense for Oregon’s public funds to be wasted on wishful thinking by coal companies.

 

Isn’t opposition to coal exports waning? This year’s KUOW poll showed a decline.

Northwest communities remain strong in their opposition to coal exports:

  • Communities affected coal from mine to rail, port to plant, have continued to raise their voices in opposition, and will continue to fight coal exports every step of the way.
  • Last week, more than 8,000 Oregonians submitted petitions to the state transportation commission requesting that the state refuse to spend ConnectOregon public funds on three proposals that would benefit coal export and oil transportation projects. 31 public officials, including mayors, city councilors and state representatives, also sent a letter requesting denial of these dirty, dangerous projects
  • In May, more than 12,500 nurses who make up the Oregon Nursing Association overwhelmingly passed a resolution to support Governor Kitzhaber’s public statements against coal exports.
  • In July, the Columbia Gorge Commission passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new coal and oil trains through the Columbia Gorge and called for September meetings with the governors of Oregon and Washington.

Are communities still doing anything about coal exports? Isn’t this old news?

Northwest communities remain strong in their opposition to coal exports:

  • Communities affected coal from mine to rail, port to plant, have continued to raise their voices in opposition, and will continue to fight coal exports every step of the way.
  • Last week, more than 8,000 Oregonians submitted petitions to the state transportation commission requesting that the state refuse to spend ConnectOregon public funds on three proposals that would benefit coal export and oil transportation projects. 31 public officials, including mayors, city councilors and state representatives, also sent a letter requesting denial of these dirty, dangerous projects
  • In May, more than 12,500 nurses who make up the Oregon Nursing Association overwhelmingly passed a resolution to support Governor Kitzhaber’s public statements against coal exports.
  • In July, the Columbia Gorge Commission passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new coal and oil trains through the Columbia Gorge and called for September meetings with the governors of Oregon and Washington.
  • Last year, the DEQ received record breaking numbers of comments on the air permit for the facility – 16,500
  • In April, Governor Kitzhaber voice outright opposition to coal export.  He continues to state his case as he campaigns for re-election.

 

What’s next?

Today is a good day for Northwest families, but we aren’t finished yet. Coal companies will continue to push their financially shaky projects in Longview and Bellingham, Washington, as well as our neighbors in the Gulf and even abroad to Vancouver and Mexico. Wherever they go, communities will lead the charge against their special interests in order to protect our health, safety, economies and natural resources.