Coal partner leaves Coos Bay project, port leaders acknowledge
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The prospect of coal exports had excited Coos Bay economic development officials and horrified environmentalists.
Port of Coos Bay leaders confirmed that an exclusive negotiating agreement with a California company, which could have led to a coal export facility, has ended.
The Port and Metropolitan Stevedoring Company, the company known as Metro Ports, had entered into an agreement in October 2011 that would have developed “research related to conceptual development of a bulk export facility, principally for the export of thermal coal and biomass.”
Coos Bay port leaders said they’ll continue to seek cargo development opportunities
Coal opponents had trumpeted word of the agreement’s expiration earlier on Monday.
“The Port is moving on to the next phase,” said CEO David Koch, in a release. “We will focus on pursuing a viable maritime development project that can capitalize on the Coos Bay harbor’s unique characteristics” which he cited as developable land, a short transit to Pacific trade routes and experienced maritime workers.
The Port plans to continue internal work on finding import and export cargo development opportunities for Coos Bay-area industrial property that the agency owns. Port leaders could also solicit more export facility proposals later this year.
Two other potential partners, Mitsui Co. and Korean Electric Power Corp., have also apparently left the project. The efforts had raised questions about the effects of coal transport through Oregon’s smaller towns.
“As coal export proponents desperately seek to develop the other four proposed coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington, should take notice of the independent decisions made by Metro Ports, Mitsui, Korean Electric Power Corporation, Portland General Electric, and RailAmerica to walk away from these risky projects before it’s too late,” said David Petrie, director of Coos Waterkeeper, in a release.
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