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Coal export terminal requires further leases

World Coal,

The State of Oregon has informed Ambre Energy that is proposed coal export terminal in the Columbia River requires a state land lease.

Further leases required

In a letter sent from the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) to Ambre Energy, the agency informed Ambre that the export terminal is located on state-owned land, and thus requires aquatic land leases both at Port of Morrow and Port Westward.

According to the letter, after further review of Ambre’s application and the Port of Morrow dock site plan, the state discovered that a portion of the operation will be located over state-owned land and as such, proprietary authorisation will be required.

Port Westward area

Regarding the Port Westward area, the letter explains that although each tow will be unloaded on site, the transport tug with further barges will be occupying an area yet to be determined in the Columbia River. A lease for marine industrial use would be needed for such activity in this undetermined area.

The state department has requested specific dimensions of the offshore area to be used as a staging area, with specific information about how vessels will be kept stationary within that are, and the frequency of use of the area.

Letter requirements

Further queries submitted in the letter to Ambre Energy refer to a floating transloader that will be moored to the dock on occasions when there is no Ocean Going Vessel being loaded. This vessel will be permanently tethered to the dock by a floating shore power cable, which will trail behind the transloader, an activity that would require a further lease.

The state also questioned the effect of the electric field around the cable and its visibility to other boaters in the area. The letter requests specific dimensions of the entire area for the use being used by the transloader and tether when idle and during operation.

State coal exports

Columbia Riverkeeper executive director, Brett VandenHeuvel, commented: “Just like any other landlord, the State of Oregon has broad discretion to carefully screen the tenants for leases on state land, and reject companies that don’t fit the goals of our state. The state should exercise that discretion by saying no to coal exports in our state.”

Ambre Energy has long stated that it did not need a lease from Oregon, however the letter from the DSL provides evidence to the contrary.

Oregon terminal permits

In February, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that Ambre Energy’s proposal to build Oregon’s first coal export terminal will require an additional permit, known as a 401 Water Quality Certification. The agency also announced its decision to issue three permits for the coal export project, an air quality permit, a construction stormwater permit, and an internal wastewater permit.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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