Washington Ecology worried about coal export effects on Columbia River
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Washington State Department of Ecology is worried about six proposed projects to ship coal across the Northwest. They're concerned the transport of that coal could have dangerous impacts on the Columbia River.
Ecology Spokesperson, Curt Hart says more than a billion gallons of fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel currently travel up and down the Columbia River in barges and freighters. He says if the six permits go through, the traffic on our river would double, if not triple by 2015. That means a greater chance for spills and pollution.
"These coal transports would use large freighters and barges to get coal up and down the river. The freighters of course can have up to three million gallons of fuel just to run the engines on the freighter ships. so all of that could increase vessel traffic on the Columbia River," says Hart.
Ecology has asked the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop a cumulative review of possible environmental problems caused by the coal export terminals. They hope a federal review may help state and local governments develop their own reviews for coal terminals proposed in their areas.
The coal will come from Wyoming and Montana, and will eventually end up in Asia. The proposed terminal projects on the Columbia include a coal dock at the Port of Morrow in eastern Oregon.