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Proposed Coal Exports Threaten Oregon and the Northwest

OREGON

Boardman and Port Westward

Oregon's Department of State Lands carefully considered and denied a proposal to move huge amounts of coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia. As a group of health care providers and public health advocates, we understand the significant risks to human health posed by massive coal shipments on our rivers and through our communities.

We expect a late 2016 hearing because project proponents have challenged the denial of the permit. Should their challenge prevail, Oregon PSR and the Sierra Club are prepared to take the project to court to defend the air quaility in and around Boardman.

While there are currently no new proposals pending in Oregon, we believe that, at the very least, Governor Brown must review both a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment and a full Environmental Impact Statement before allowing any Oregon agency to grant a permit for any such project.

Please read the Position Statement on Coal Exports from concerned Oregon physicians to learn more about public health threats associated with proposed coal export through Oregon.

In addition, please read our letter from health professionals and public health advocates to Governor Kitzhaber. Health advocates like you helped turn the tide against coal exports in Oregon.

Time to Celebrate: A Major Victory in Preventing Coal Exports

WASHINGTON

Longview (Millennium Bulk Projects)

7-21-16 update: The Army Corps of Engineers will release a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this fall for public comment. Cowlitz County will undertake a related Health Impact Assessment over the course of the next 9 months. Huge thanks to everyone who testified at the public comment hearing in Cowlitz County for the draft EIS produced by Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology. Remember that coal trains will move through Oregon on their way to Longview, WA, the site of the largest proposed coal export facility in the nation.

View all comments on the draft EIS produced by Cowlitz County and Washington Department of Ecology.

Oregon and Washington PSR Comments on Millennium Bulk Terminal Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

View a 2016 video, which opens with Oregon PSR's own Dr. Andy Harris, in support of efforts to protect Longview and our climate from the negative impacts of coal exports.

From Montana to the Coast, Coal Dust Threatens Human Health (4/4/16 Sightline article)

Longview Health Factsheet (English language version)

Longview Health Factsheet (Spanish language version)

Potential Health Impacts of Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview - scoping comments submitted for Environmental Impact Statement process.

If you are a (non-physician) health professional, public health advocate or if you work in the health community in Washington State, please read our Washington Health Community Statement. Add your name to this statement.

If you have already signed on, thank you so much for lending your voice on this critically important issue. For more details, please contact Regna Merritt.

Cherry Point (Gateway Pacific)

On May 9th, 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers delivered its historic decision to deny permits for SSA Marine’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, a coal export facility at Xwe’chi’eXen, also known as Cherry Point, Washington. The Army Corps agreed with the Lummi Nation that building a 48 million ton per year coal terminal would have adverse impacts upon the Lummi Nation's fishing rights and way of life. By denying permits for the largest proposed coal export terminal in North America, the Army Corps is upholding the Lummi Nation’s treaty rights and protecting the Salish Sea for all people who call the Pacific Northwest home.

Please read the August 28th, 2015 letter from Oregon PSR, Washington PSR, PSR National, and Dr. Frank James to the Army Corps of Engineers in support of the Lummi Nation's request.


NEWS ARCHIVE ON COAL EXPORTS

NW Coal Exports: A Threat to Health and Safety (factsheet, 10/15/14)

Army Corps Stops Permitting Process for Ambre Energy's Morrow Pacific Coal Export Terminal (9/15/14)

Big Coal's Plans for the Pacific Northwest Take a Major Hit (8/19/14)

A Victory for Public Health and Our Climate! (8/18/14)

Sierra Club Sues for Review of DEQ's Coal Export Permit for Coyote Island (7/22/14)

Coalition of Community Health Clinics Oppose Coal Exports (7/18/14)

Columbia River Gorge Commission Resolution to Protect the Columbia River Gorge from Coal and Oil Transport (7/17/14)

Environmental Justice Task Force Letter to Governor Kitzhaber (3/31/14)

Power Past Coal Launches Ad Campaign Urging Governor Kitzhaber to Protect Health by Rejecting Coal Exports (3/25/14)

People's Hearing on Coal Exports at Pioneer Square (3/8/14)

Are Coal Trains Degrading the Air We Breath? The Answer is Yes. (3/3/14)

Oregon PSR Brings Together Oregon and Washington Physicians to Comment on the Proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal Project in Longview, WA (11/17/13)

Statement of the Yakama Nation Regarding Coal Export Issues (11/18/13)

Comments from The Mazamas on Proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal Project (11/18/13)

Comments from the City of Mosier on Proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal Project (11/13/13)

Comments from the City of Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy on Proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal Project (11/8/13)

Resolution to Oppose Coal Transport by the City Council of Beaverton (Beaverton City Council Resolution #4182, 6/18/13)

Resolution from the Portland City Council on Coal Exports and Health Impact Assessment (Portland City Council Resolution #36962, 10/4/12)

Resolution from the Portland City Council Opposing Coal Trains (Portland City Council Resolution #36959, 9/19/13)

Oregon PSR and Partners Petition Army Corps to Undertake Area-Wide Environmental Impact Statement on All Proposed Coal Export Terminals in Washington and Oregon (5/22/13)

Kinder Morgan Decision: A Victory for Public Health (5/8/2013)

Resolution from the City of Scappoose Regarding the Kinder-Morgan Coal Export Project for Port Westward (Scappoose City Council Resolution #13-03, 5/6/13)

Presbytery of the Cascades Expresses Concern Regarding Expansion of Coal Export (3/15/13)

Resolution to Oppose Coal Transport by the City Council of Eugene (Eugene City Council Resolution #5065, 10/24/12)

Resolution to Oppose Coal Transport by the City Council of Milwaukie (Milwaukie City Council Resolution #55-2012, 10/22/12)

Announcement from Multnomah County Chair and the Multnomah County Health Department Regarding Health Impacts of Coal Trains through Multnomah County (9/10/12)

Read more about Multnomah County studying the health risks of coal (9/10/12, Bonnie Stewart,OPB's EarthFix), and view video of Jeff Cogen's announcement.

Read about Portland City Council Commissioner Amanda Fritz's coal export resolution (9/11/12, Scott Learn, The Oregonian).

Read Toxic Coal Blues, an article about opposition to plans to ship coal through Portland (8/22/12, Mindy Cooper, The Portland Observer)

Download the press release for our July 19th, 2012 press conference

Read the April 26th, 2012 news release from our partners in the Power Past Coal Coalition.


Watch this fascinating three-minute video highlighting plans to export dirty U.S. coal to Asia. Local voices from Longview, Bellingham, Hood River, and Portland share how coal trains and terminals will harm their communities.

HEALTH EFFECTS RELATED TO COAL EXPORTS

Diesel particulate matter is associated with:

  • impaired pulmonary development in adolescents;
  • increased cardiopulmonary mortality and all-cause mortality;
  • measurable pulmonary inflammation;
  • increased severity and frequency of asthma attacks, ER visits, and hospital admissions in children;
  • increased rates of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in adults;
  • increased risk of cancer;
  • neurodevelopmental disorders.

Coal dust is associated with:

  • chronic bronchitis;
  • emphysema;
  • pulmonary fibrosis (pneumoconiosis);
  • environmental contamination through the leaching of toxic heavy metals.

Noise exposure causes:

  • cardiovascular disease, including increased blood pressure, arrhythmia;
  • stroke, and ischemic heart disease;
  • cognitive impairment in children;
  • sleep disturbance and resultant fatigue, hypertension, arrhythmia, and increased rate of accidents and injuries;
  • exacerbation of mental health disorders such as depression, stress and anxiety, and psychosis.

Frequent long trains at rail crossings will mean:

  • delayed emergency medical service response times;
  • increased accidents, traumatic injury and death.