The Multnomah County, Oregon Health Department cited data that identified “six potential local environmental effects of concern related to coal transportation”: Emission of particulate matter in the form of coal dust; emission of particulate matter in the form of diesel locomotive exhaust; production of noise and vibration by train movement; congestion and collisions along roadways and rail lines; train derailments; fires due to spontaneous combustion of coal.
In addition, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission is considering whether Global Partners can develop an oil-by-rail export terminal at an industrial site near Clatskanie, Oregon. Global Partners is a Fortune 500 company that stores, distributes and markets fuels – including biofuel — throughout the United States. The company also owns 1,000 gas stations in the Northeast.
Global Partners wants to buy nine oil tanks and an oil pipeline connecting the tanks to a dock on the Columbia River. Stand Up to Oil, a non-profit environmental advocacy group, is encouraging people to sign an online petition against the terminal.
A public hearing was held June 13 in Salem, Oregon. The PUC will have the final say on whether the purchase can proceed.*
By Richard Walker