The message is loud & clear from Northwest residents – NO COAL EXPORTS!
Concerned residents from the Salem-area gathered at the Department of State Lands (DSL) to welcome to office its new director, Mary Abrams. Along with the welcome, residents presented Director Abrams with the 16,000+ public comments collected during the 30-day public comment period in October. The comments and the crowd called on her to deny a permit for the Morrow Pacific Coal Export Project. If permitted, the project would bring up to 8.8 millions of tons of toxic coal through communities across Oregon and the Northwest each year. Coal export risks the health of local families, businesses, and the climate.
Milwaukie, Oregon Mayor Jeremy Ferguson shared his concern for coal export at the rally, “Shipping coal by train or by barge is just a bad risk.” He also detailed the motivations of his council to pass a unanimous resolution to oppose coal export.
Dr. Andy Harris of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility spoke of the health impacts and tied the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to climate change and the importance of stopping coal export.
Kathy Seabrook, a windsurfer in the Columbia Gorge, told stories of the dangers of barge traffic, diesel pollution, and the threat to recreation and Gorge tourism if these projects go through.
This was the second DSL rally this year. On April 9th, 2012 activists from across the state rallied outside a DSL Board meeting asking for a halt to coal export projects and to improve the bare bones environmental review process for Ambre Energy’s proposal.