Merkley: Global impacts of coal exports can't be ignored

Michael O'Leary

"A programmatic EIS, or any type of EIS the Army Corps conducts, must be comprehensive in nature, and consider both local and global issues raised by the public." ~Senator Jeff Merkley

Merkley: Global impacts of coal exports can't be ignored

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Anyone concerned about climate disruption, public health, and the questions about what sectors of our economy deserve public subsidy are turning their attention to the three proposed coal export terminals in Oregon and the three more in Washington state.

Will the clean and green northwest turn in to coal country?

Today Senator Jeff Merkley went public with a strongly worded statement about coal exports that is earning high praise.

Anne Gravatt, the Oregon Director for Climate Solutions said today that Merkley's position "is exactly what we'd expect from a long time leader on climate and clean energy."

The controversy over coal is uniting an increasingly broad coalition of concerned community members.

State and Federal regulators are expected to rule on relating permits and initiate environmental review processes in the coming months.

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    While the fight to protect our communities from becoming a conveyor belt for dirty coal is far from over, for today's development,there is one thing to say. Very simply, Thank you, Senator Merkley.

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    Ditto on the thank you. Somehow we must overcome the denial of climate change that has paralyzed our ability to respond to this critical issue.

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    This is Merkley's long time global perspective emerging.

    When timing of closing the Boardman coal-fired power plant and regulation in the meantime was being considered by the state a few years ago, an very weak regulation was proposed by the agency with direct oversight, on the grounds that most mercury deposition in Oregon comes from coal burning in China.

    Critics correctly pointed out that the proposed rule neglected local deposition affecting the Columbia River, as documented by DEQ, which for some reason the other agency had not consulted, and the rules ended up a bit stronger.

    But in terms of the general sources of mercury pollution affecting the whole state, it remains true that Chinese coal-burning is the main source. The effects of these coal exports are thus three-fold: particulate pollution in transport, mercury and other poisonous pollution combustion by-products borne here by the winds and deposed, and greenhouse gas pollution of the global atmosphere.

    Thanks for big picture thinking Jeff!

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    Ditto from me Jeff! There are so few who consider pollution and global warming at the same time. Controlling emissions is good, but I have little doubt that damn near all the carbon in the coal, oil and gas we take out of the ground or "de-sequester" will wind up in the atmosphere. Mostly what I see is a race between the big energy corps to see who can bring about global warming the fastest (of course making the most profit)...and they don't really care what gets destroyed in the process.

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    Great to see Sen. Merkley getting behind this issue. These projects' negative impacts to Oregon and the planet aren't worth it.

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