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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coal companies: Planet-wrecking greed that knows no limits

Cover of "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behi...Cover via Amazon

  The evil bastards atop the coal industry (to put the most charitable possible name to them), hell bent for profits at the expense of a habitable planet, have Salem and other towns in the Northwest in their sights.  The plan is to export coal to China, where they will use the power and send us the pollution (mercury, polonium, and other nasties) in abundance.

According to an article in Saturday's The World newspaper and in Monday's Statesman, there is indeed a discussion occurring regarding the shipment of coal to Coos Bay.  I'm not sure what rail line connects Montana and Wyoming with Coos Bay but the UP line through Salem seems the most likely.  Should we be concerned?  Maybe we should all watch "The Last Mountain," recently shown at the Salem Progressive Film Festival in September.

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"COOS BAY -- The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay has signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with an unnamed company interested in shipping coal from the North Spit of Coos Bay.
At the port commissioners' monthly meeting Thursday night, port CEO Jeff Bishop said the Dutch consulting firm Portolan had helped port staff evaluate four proposals, code-named Versatile, Mainstay, Clover and Glory.  They ranged from a plan to export 100,000 metric tons of zinc and chrome annually to a plan to export 26 million tons of coal.

The proponents' experience, environmental track record and financial strength were the most heavily weighted criteria in the committee's selection process. How each proposal fit in with the port's other projects was an important factor. Proponents had  to demonstrate an understanding of the project and a familiarity with what Bishop called the state's 'permitting culture."
They also had to explain what commitments they'd need from the port, how they'd expect a port facility to be financed and their  proposed timeline.  Project Mainstay, a scheme to export 6 million to 10 million tons of thermal coal per year, got the approval.  Thermal coal is burned to fuel power plants".
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I also have heard that up to 16 a day mile-long coal trains may find their way through Salem with the desire to make these two-mile long trains.  As you can see from the above article, zinc and chrome are also being considered.  The coal trains that I have seen heading north along I-5 are uncovered, spewing coal dust all along the rail line.

I, for one, don't want to wait until this is a done deal but I don't know what to do next.  Any suggestions?
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