Coal Export from Coos Bay

In October 2011, the Port of Coos Bay [27] signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with an anonymous company interested in shipping coal from the port (document).

Coos Bay, Oregon

The Japanese conglomerate Mitsui and California-based Metro Ports are two of the key players in a bid to develop a coal export terminal with the Port of Coos Bay, EarthFix has learned. Environmental groups opposed to coal exportation have criticized the port’s refusal to disclose the names of its potential partners. Mitsui operates a major rail-car leasing business while Metro Ports is a stevedoring and terminal management company.

An engineering study found that a rail line between Coos Bay and Eugene needs about 100 million dollars worth of work before it can handle heavier train traffic. The study was paid for by anonymous investors interested in exporting coal from Coos Bay. Environmental groups have filed formal requests for records detailing the proposal. The port has said it would charge the groups thousands of dollars so that a lawyer could determine whether information is confidential or public under state law. Coal dust is one of the environmental groups concerns.

The port of Coos Bay wants to dredge more than 5 million cubic yards for an access channel and a new two-slip marine terminal on the bay’s North Spit. It estimates the terminal would generate from 26 to 280 long-term jobs.

But in April, 2013, the Port of Coos Bay confirmed that an agreement with Metro Ports has ended. That agreement could have developed a bulk export facility, principally for the export of thermal coal and biomass.”

The project was one of five under consideration in Oregon and Washington. It was also the only one likely to bring mile-plus coal trains through southeast Portland, Milwaukie, Salem and Eugene.

Coal opponents trumpeted word of the agreement’s expiration. In 2012, RailAmerica abandoned plans to construct a coal export facility at the Port of Grays Harbor.

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