Sightline Daily, September 19, 2012
By Clark Williams-Derry
[This post is part of the research project: Northwest Coal Exports]
The Army Corps of Engineers has some explaining to do.
They’ve just announced that, at least for the time being, Ambre Energy’s proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River only needs to do a streamlined environmental assessment, rather than a more comprehensive environmental impact statement. Which means, as Scott Learn from The Oregonian writes, that Ambre’s project “is staying on the fast track.”
It’s hard not to think that the Corps is caving to pressure from the coal industry here. Let’s leave aside, if you will, the potential risks to human health—such as coal’s well-known problem with spontaneous combustion, or the many impacts on rail-side communities from coal dust. Ambre’s own consultants, in a biological assessment prepared earlier this year for the company, admitted that the Morrow Pacific coal export project will have signficant impacts on threatened and endangered fish populations and their habitat.