Oregon adds some hurdles for Ambre Energy coal export project

The Oregon Department of State Lands on March 14 sent a letter to an affiliate of coal producer Ambre Energy saying that the two locations for its coal export project involve state lands, so state permission will be needed to use them.

The letter said that initially it found no state land involved, but that recent evaluation shows certain submerged land in the Columbia River off the Port of Morrow is owned by the state, so authorization will be needed to use it. Also, at the Port Westward site, barges being staged for that facility will hover over submerged state land, again meaning that state authorization is required.

The letter was to Ambre’s Coyote Island Terminal LLC affiliate. Ambre, which got into the U.S. coal production business a few years ago, plans to construct the rail-served Coyote Island Terminal at the publicly-owned Port of Morrow for coal storage and barge loading. Then coal will be barged down the Columbia River to Port Westward Industrial Park for transloading to ocean-going vessel. Stage 1 of the project would have a capacity of 3.5 million metric tons per year, with Stage 2 at 8 million metric tons per year.

The Sierra Club said in a March 17 statement that the March 14 Oregon letter is a major blow to the controversial project. “Just like any other landlord, the State of Oregon has broad discretion to carefully screen the tenants for leases on state land, and reject companies that don’t fit the goals of our state,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “The state should exercise that discretion by saying no to coal exports in our state.”

“This decision is a no-brainer. Our state should not lease public land for the construction of a dirty, dangerous coal export terminal that would threaten the health and safety of families throughout Oregon and along the Columbia River Gorge,” said Cesia Kearns, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club and co-director of the Power Past Coal coalition.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.