Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) is pressuring the Obama administration to conduct a sweeping environmental review of proposals for coal export facilities in Washington and Oregon.
Coal companies such as Ambre Energy, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy are proposing export projects in the Pacific Northwest to send coal to Asian markets.
Merkley, in a letter to the U.S. Army and the Interior Department, calls for a major review known as a “programmatic environmental impact statement,” or EIS, arguing that project-by-project reviews of export terminal plans won’t suffice.
It calls for the Army Corps of Engineers and Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to craft the study.
The letter notes that some communities see big economic opportunities from the proposed projects. “At a time when we need to be doing everything possible to promote economic development and get Oregonians back to work, the proposals could have benefits for our state,” it states.
But the same letter – which calls for an expedited study in less than a year – highlights environmental concerns, ranging from coal dust affecting residents to global warming.