In yet another sign that the shift away from coal may be taking hold, Kinder Morgan has announced that it will no longer be building a giant coal export terminal along the Columbia River near Clatskanie, Oregon.
Despite rampant opposition from residents, business owners, farmers, elected officials, public health professionals, environmentalists, and pretty much everyone who cares about people and the environment over fossil fuel profits, this is a pretty unexpected (and satisfying) move.
The terminal, which would’ve exported 15-30 million tons of U.S. coal every year for Asian markets, would essentially be a thread of life support for the American coal industry, which is dying a slow, controversial death. Original plans were announced in January 2012, and overwhelming opposition has been coming in since then.
“This is another huge victory for the people of Oregon and another blow to the coal companies,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper’s Executive Director. “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.”
The announcement was made by Kinder Morgan at a Port Commission meeting on May 8. Representative Allan Fore claimed it was because the site was too small, something the company likely would have known from the beginning.
I’m sure the company will never admit whether public opposition had anything to do with the decision, but perhaps a little people-power really does make a difference. Now if only the same would happen with the Keystone XL Pipeline, things would really start looking up for rapid clean energy development in the United States.