Coal export company promises $400M in economic impact
By Erik Siemers
A worker from Vigor Industrial works on the hull of a barge. Plans for a coal export facility would use barges to bring coal up the Columbia River and promise $400 million in economic impact.
Ambre will release Thursday a study from economic forecasting firm ECONorthwest showing Morrow Pacific — which hopes to begin construction late this year — could bring nearly $400 million worth of economic impact to 11 counties in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.
It would bring another $300 million in economic activity once it begins operating at full capacity, delivering 8.8 million tons of coal per year from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asian markets.
And it would create more than 2,100 jobs — directly and through trickle-down economic effects — during the project’s development, with another 1,100 to come once operating, according to the ECONorthwest report.
Ambre is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would allow it to build a dock structure on the river at the Port of Morrow. The first public comment period on the application ended last weekend. Ambre is expected to turn in a 500-page environmental assessment required by the Corps sometime in June.
A similar back-and-forth with the Corps, including another public comment period, will follow. If everything goes the company’s way, Ambre hopes to begin construction by December and start taking coal delivery by mid- to late-2013.
The biggest immediate beneficiaries are likely to be local manufacturers that would help design and fabricate the structures and barges that would make the system work.
Clark Moseley, CEO of the Morrow Pacific project, said the work could start funneling to the region quickly.
“A lot of these construction jobs could conceivably start in the next two or three months,” Moseley said. “That would be local jobs.”
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