Oregon denies key permit for Ambre Energy coal terminal in Boardman

The Oregon Department of State Lands has denied a removal-fill permit for the Coyote Island coal terminal at the Port of Morrow near Boardman in Eastern Oregon.

The $242 million project proposed by Australia-based Ambre Energy was supported by construction trades unions because of the jobs it would have created. Amber Energy had signed a letter of understanding with both the Pendleton Building Trades Council and the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council to perform all construction work with union labor.

Ambre Energy planned to use the dock to load 8.8 million tons of coal annually from Wyoming and Colorado onto covered barges and ship it down the Columbia River to Port Westward near Clatskanie. There it would be unloaded and then transferred onto ocean-going vessels headed to Asia.

Department of State Lands denied the permit after concluding the project is “not consistent with the protection, conservation and best use of the state’s water resources, and that the applicant did not provide sufficient analysis of alternatives that would avoid construction of a new dock and impacts on tribal fisheries.”

The Morrow Pacific project requires permits from both the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It had already received three permits through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. It cannot go forward without all permits in place.

Department of State Lands issued its denial Aug. 18. Ambre has 21 days to appeal the decision, Ambre reportedly is leaning in that direction.

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