Kinder Morgan pulls out of St. Helens coal project

Kinder Morgan said its coal storage facility project could have created as many as 80 jobs in St. Helens.

Kinder Morgan said its coal storage facility project could have created as many as 80 jobs in St. Helens.

The large Houston company that wanted to build a coal storage facility in St. Helens said Wednesday morning it would pull out of the project.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE: KMP) officials said they’d invest between $150 million and $200 million on a state-of-the-art coal storage and export facility at the Port of St. Helens’ Port Westward Industrial Park. The project, which would have collected coal by rail and transferred it to ocean-going vessels, was to have created 80 full-time jobs.

A Kinder Morgan spokesman revealed the plans at a Port of St. Helens meeting, according to the Portland Tribune.

The Port of St. Helens had already granted option agreements for the two projects in its district, giving them the green light to conduct due diligence work.

Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) had expressed concerns last year about the project because of the possibility it would spread coal dust throughout the area. PGE’s worries had forced Kinder Morgan to find another site within the St. Helens Port’s property for the facility.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Allen Fore couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Coal opponents quickly sent out a release Wednesday trumpeting the news as a huge win for their forces.

“This is another huge victory for the people of Oregon and another blow to the coal companies,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director for Columbia Riverkeeper and a member of the group Power Past Coal, in a statement. “The evidence is in that dirty coal export plans are not viable in the Pacific Northwest.

“Now families across the Northwest can breathe easier knowing that the largest coal export terminal proposed in the State of Oregon is off the table. Another one bites the dust.”

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