Coyote Island Terminal Coal Export Project
The Coyote Island Terminal is a coal export project proposed by Ambre Energy at the Port of Morrow in Boardman.
Ambre Energy would bring up to 8.8 million tons of coal a year by train from Montana and/or Wyoming to Boardman. The company would store the coal in covered storage buildings at the Port of Morrow before transferring it to barges using an enclosed conveyor system. The barges would then take the coal down the Columbia River to Port Westward in Clatskanie, where crews would transfer it onto ocean-going ships bound for Asia. In addition to other federal and state permits, Ambre Energy has requested three draft permits from DEQ. These are permits for air quality, storm water and water quality.
DEQ issues three permits for the proposed Coyote Island Terminal coal export project in Boardman
Oregon DEQ has issued three permits associated with the proposed Coyote Island Terminal coal export project in Boardman.
DEQ is issuing air quality
, water quality
and construction stormwater permits
for the project because, as proposed, they comply with all relevant environmental rules and regulations. The permits went through a rigorous internal review and an extensive public process involving more than 16,500 public comments. The Coyote Island Terminal is a coal export project proposed by Ambre Energy and would bring up to 8.8 million tons of coal a year by train from Montana and/or Wyoming to Boardman. After considering the comments received, DEQ has also concluded that a further water quality certification – called a 401 certification – is appropriate for the project. DEQ is consulting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ambre Energy on the next steps for this certification.
The issuance of these permits does not mean that the project has been approved to proceed. Rather, it means that the standards for these particular DEQ permits have been met. Aside from permits from DEQ, the project also needs permits from the Oregon Department of State Lands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
DEQ regulates businesses and industry to ensure projects meet applicable environmental laws. If projects can prove they comply with these laws, DEQ must issue permits for them to operate. If they cannot meet these standards, DEQ does not issue the requested permits.
From the public meetings held last December, and from comments DEQ continues to receive, we know that many people question the agency’s limited role in the permitting process. Some people want climate change considered as part of the process, while others have called for a federal review of coal export projects.
DEQ supports Governor Kitzhaber in this effort.
Actions to Date
Public hearings took place on Tuesday, July 9 at the Blue Mountain Coummunity College in Hermiston and the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.
Public Information Meetings
DEQ held three public information meetings in December 2012 in Boardman, Clatskanie and Portland. Thousands of people attended these meetings, and 5,379 people provided written comments do DEQ. Many people expressed strong feelings opposed to the project, citing a range of environmental concerns. Others said the project would bring much needed jobs and revenue to the Oregon economy.
Most comments addressed three general areas of concern or support: greenhouse gas emissions/climate change, increased rail traffic and the resulting coal dust emissions, and the economic benefits/financial viability of the project. While these are all significant considerations, they fall outside the scope of DEQ’s authority in the permitting process. View a summary of the December public hearing comments.
Stormwater Draft Permit
Unlike the air and water permits, the stormwater permit
is not site specific. Instead it is a general permit containing conditions that apply to similar construction projects statewide.