Oregon Affirms Permit for Coal Port Expansion (The World)
State: Port can build cargo slip
“This is a victory,” said Port Commission President David Kronsteiner on Wednesday. “The administrative law judge rejected every single argument that Coos Waterkeeper, the Sierra Club and other groups have presented as challenges to this permit.”
The port submitted its application for the marine terminal multi-berth slip in 2007. The state granted the permit in December 2011. In January 2012, however, Coos Waterkeeper, Friends of Living Oregon Waters, Climate Solutions, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club appealed that decision.
The groups said the state acted improperly by not considering the environmental impact of shipping liquefied natural gas and coal from the terminal; that the state should have considered the aquatic impact of building the terminal itself; and that the port hadn’t submitted a complete application.
But in a 374-page decision, Administrative Law Judge Dove Gutman dismissed the groups’ concerns, saying the state had followed the law.
Gutman’s decision said:
- The state’s determination that the permit met legal standards “is supported by substantial evidence and is not flawed.”
- The proposed upland area where the slip would be created does not contain wetlands and is above the highest high tide line. So the state did not have to consider its impact on the aquatic environment.
- The department complied with requirements for permit processing and public review.
- The permit lawfully authorized construction of the marine terminal and disposal of dredged material at approved stockpile sites.
- Oregon law does not require the state to evaluate “the appropriateness of potential users of the terminal or the products ….” The judge said the port had shown that the terminal would be useful even if it weren’t used for shipping coal or LNG.
Representatives of the groups that challenged the permit could not be reached for comment.
The proposed terminal would have an east berth and a west berth, each capable of accommodating large vessels. Jordan Cove Energy Project is seeking federal approval to develop an LNG export facility using the east berth. The port has said the west berth would be available for multiple uses, including potential deployment of deep-sea wind power generation structures as part of the Coos Bay Wind Power Demonstration Project.
The port says development of the Jordan Cove facility would create 2,600 construction jobs. Once operational, the facility would directly employ 180 people at an estimated average annual wage of $81,900, the port says.
See article here.