Coal Opponents Say Coos Bay Terminal has Derailed

Coal export opponents are reporting that all the private companies looking into developing a coal export terminal in Oregon’s Coos Bay have now dropped out.

Power Past Coal -- a coalition of environmental groups opposed to the exports -- says it’s confirmed that California-based Metro Ports has allowed its exclusive negotiating contract with the port to expire. The last two companies being courted as partner investors, Japanese-based Mitsui Company and Korean Electric Power Corporation, have also lost interest in the project.

I have a call into some industry peeps to get their take on the ramifications of the contract expiring, but amongst the green groups, there’s some excitement. Says David Petrie, Director of Coos Waterkeeper:

“We are heartened that Metro Ports, the sole remaining interested project proponent, finally joins Mitsui and Korean Electric Power Corporation in seeing the Port of Coos Bay’s coal export proposal for the bad project it is.

“As coal export proponents desperately seek to develop the other four proposed coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington, should take notice of the independent decisions made by Metro Ports, Mitsui, Korean Electric Power Corporation, Portland General Electric, and RailAmerica to walk away from these risky projects before it’s too late.

“With fluctuating markets, massive opposition from communities, local businesses, health professionals and elected officials across the region, and the hundreds of millions of dollars in rail and bridge infrastructure needed to make the project viable, it is hard to imagine that anyone would want to risk getting in bed with risky and desperate coal industry.”

The news follows some speculation on Wall Street that demand for American coal in Asia might not be as robust as once thought. If Coos Bay is indeed off the table, though, four more export terminals are still proposed between Oregon and Washington, as discussed in our cover story here

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