Columbia Gorge Coal Wars shift to barging and Boardman

By Sean Aaron Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

Kinder Morgan, a $115-billion dollar energy giant that operates 80,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals, has announced that it is dropping its proposal to build a coal export terminal on the Columbia River, at least for now.

This is both good and bad news. The good news is clear.

Kinder Morgan’s proposal would have brought mile-long coal trains through North Portland. With that prospect off the table, however, a lot of local opposition will drop off.

Now there will be increased pressure to ship coal through the Columbia Gorge by barge, the proposal which is on the fastest track.

Ambre Energy is pushing its Morrow Pacific coal terminal proposal near Boardman at the East end of the Gorge, and billions of real dollars and the long-term future of the Columbia Gorge are at stake.

Ambre Energy hopes to begin barging 8.8 million tons of coal through the National Scenic Protection Area starting next year, and every year after that.

Proponents plan to build the coal barges in Portland, part of the job-creation argument they are using to buy off opposition and confuse the public.

The focus of the Columbia River Coal Wars is shifting to coal barges, barges that should never be built, and will never float on that River.

Organize now, Act now…be Idle No More….

About 1000nations

Sean Aaron Cruz is Executive Director of 1000 Nations and a co-founder of The Friends of Celilo Falls. He is the organizer of the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival. He is co-author of Winona LaDuke's new book, "The Militarization of Indian Country." He is the father of four children who disappeared into Utah in a Mormon abduction in 1996, and the author of Oregon's landmark anti-kidnapping statute "Aaron's Law" (Senate Bill 1041), named for his late son Aaron Cruz. He writes online as Blogolitical Sean.
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