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Army Corps of Engineers stops review of Oregon coal export terminal

World Coal,

The US Army Corps of Engineers has halted its review of Ambre Energy’s coal export project in Oregon, following the state’s decision not to award the project a permit.

Ambre Energy recently announced its intention to appeal against the state’s decision.

The Army Corps' Portland office cited the Oregon Department of State Lands rejection of the permit requested by Australian firm Ambre Energy for its action. The firm needed to build a dock in Boardman, Oregon to load coal onto covered barges.

"Portland District Commander Col. Jose Aguilar has determined that continuing the District’s evaluation at this time is inappropriate, given that it is unknown whether required state authorisation will be subsequently granted, and a substantial amount of work is still required for the Corps to process its application to a conclusion," it said.

John Thomas, vice president of legal with Ambre, said that it "worked with the Corps to arrive at this decision," noting the company's Morrow Pacific project requires both federal and state approval.

"Our focus is on the DSL appeal process where we will prove as we have before that the project meets Oregon’s environmental standards," Thomas said.

The coal terminal would export 8.8 million tpa of coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. Ambre claim the project would add 2100 construction jobs and 1000 operations jobs – providing US$ 400 million of economic activity during construction and US$ 300 million/year when fully operational.

The Oregon Department of State Lands said, however, that building the dock in Boardman — where coal would be loaded inside a covered warehouse before being sent via train down the Columbia River to Port Westward in St. Helens, — would disrupt fisheries vital for native tribes.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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