Plans Scrapped For Coal Export Terminal In St. Helens, OR

By Ashley Ahearn

The number of coal export terminals under consideration in the Northwest has dropped to three – that’s from a high of six last year. The Port of St. Helens in Oregon is no longer considering leasing land for a coal export facility.

For the past year and a half Kinder Morgan has been examining the Port of St. Helens as a potential coal transfer site on the Columbia River. The company wanted to move coal off of trains coming from the Powder River basin of Montana and Wyoming and onto ships bound for Asia.

But Allen Fore, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan, says the site wasn’t a good fit.

Allen Fore: “When we got down to the exact physical structure it wasn’t compatible with what we wanted to build.”

Portland General Electric opposed the plan. The company operates natural gas-fired power plants near the site and expressed strong concerns about coal dust.

Environmentalists view this as a big win but Allen Fore denies that the controversy over coal exports had anything to do with the company’s decision to scrap the deal.

Allen Fore: “We were looking before. We’ll continue to look at other options and it wasn’t about the commodity.”

Fore says the company is still interested in building a coal export facility in the Northwest, but declined to name any sites under consideration.

The two largest remaining proposed coal terminal could be built in Longview and near Bellingham in Washington.

[This story was first reported for EarthFix.]

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