Portland Joins Other NW Cities Questioning Coal Trains

Oregon Public Broadcasting| EarthFix, September 19, 2012
By April Baer

Coal trains like this one in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming are generating political debate in the Northwest, where the industry wants to establish as many as five terminals for exporting to Asia. | credit: Katie Campbell

Portland is exploring its power to regulate the coal industry as the business looks to expand in the Northwest.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has drafted a proposal that would put Portland on the record opposing coal export shipments traveling along rail lines within city limits until more is known about the possible health and environmental effects of those shipments.

Fritz is seeking re-election to the Council. Northwest politicians at the local, state and federal levels have been raising the issue and calling for additional study of the impact coal trains could have on traffic, human health the economy and the environment.

Fritz says her resolution is in response to community concern. Her resolution calls on the rail companies to give proper public notification of any expansion in rail traffic.

It also asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement. That’s a technical term for a complete in-depth study, typically conducted over a period of years. Fritz’s request asks specifically for an “area-wide” EIS, incorporating projects across the region.

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About coalfreegorge

Coal is rearing its head again the Columbia Gorge. The new threat comes in the form of proposals to export coal from Wyoming to coal-fired power plants in China. The coal would be transported via uncovered rail cars through the Columbia Gorge. Many Columbia Gorge Communities in Oregon and Washington support a coal-free world, beginning at home, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, recognizing the importance of people determining what materials are allowable for transport through their communities and watersheds. This blog exists to communicate and advocate for the public interest in issues pertaining to coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, providing an online outlet for honest discussion and information. To inform and unite local citizens about the damaging effects of coal transport through our communities. To endorse positive and considerate dialogue with the aim of mutual understanding among diverse parties. CLEAN AIR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES NO COAL EXPORTS STOP COAL IN ITS TRACKS
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