A port spokesman called many of the environmental claims “speculative, emotional and sensational.”
Environmental groups are challenging an Oregon state permit that would allow the development of shipping terminals for liquefied natural gas and coal.
The groups — including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club — are telling the Oregon Department of State Lands that regulators should have never granted a “removal-fill” permit to the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay. The port is planning to build an access channel and vessel slip.
“The Coos Bay estuary is already a compromised ecosystem,” North Bend, Ore., resident Ron Sadler said in a statement. “The people of Oregon deserve to know the truth about harmful impacts from the Port of Coos Bay’s coal and liquefied natural gas export plans.”
The permit, he said, “could end up being the most important decision the state has to make about exporting dirty coal and LNG from Oregon, but it has barely been discussed.”
Port spokeswoman Elise Hamner denied environmentalists’ allegations of backroom deals between the port and a coal company.
“There is no secret deal,” Hamner said about an exclusive negotiating agreement with an unnamed coal company.
Environmentalists say increased shipping could hurt salmon and oyster habitats. They worry about health problems from coal shipments arriving by train. And they say the proposed Pacific Connector LNG pipeline could burst and threaten communities along its 200-plus-mile, in-state route.
“Exporting coal and liquefied natural gas is dirty and dangerous business,” said Ivan Maluski, conservation coordinator with the Sierra Club’s Oregon chapter. “Oregon’s leaders should not let out-of-state coal and gas companies hijack our economic future, health and clean water”…