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Oregon Officials Reject Coal Terminal Plan in Boardman

$242 million dollar investment rejectedd by Oregon Land Officials
$242 million dollar investment rejectedd by Oregon Land Officials (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A $242 million dollar investment in the Boardman, OR area has been shot down by the Oregon Department of State Lands.  The announcement was made Monday.

After a two-plus year process following the February 2012 application,  the Department rejected a proposal by Ambre Energy to barge 8.8 million tons of coal down the Columbia for eventual export to Asia.

Ambre Energy would have brought  the coal from Montana and Wyoming by rail, then it would be stored in enclosed structures in Boardman until it was sent by barge to the Port of St. Helens, where it would then be sent overseas.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber chimed in an expected environmental spin,  saying while he praised the hundreds of jobs it would have created and millions for area schools,  it was “time to embrace cleaner energy solutions.”

Kitzhaber failed to mention the coal was going to be exported to numerous countries in Asia, and not burned commercially in the U.S.    The permit would have allowed modifications to be made at the port in Boardman to accommodate the coal barges.

Rep. Greg Smith of Heppner, one of the project developers, told the East Oregonian without the permit “we do not have the ability to stage our barges.”   He said they would have to step back and take a look at alternatives.

While Indian tribes in the area also opposed the plan,  Ambre Energy released a statement saying they would consider potential legal action to reverse the decision.

In the meantime,  Oregon officials have just watched hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars pledged from the project for schools and education go floating away down the river.

The plan would have been a significant economic boost for Boardman and the surrounding communities.  Some experts said the total number of jobs created by the project itself and ripple effects could have exceeded 1,000, especially during construction.

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