Environment

Tribes hail Oregon decision to deny permit for coal export project






Leaders of the Yakama Nation speak out against coal export terminal that affects tribal treaty fishing sites. Pictured are council member Raymond Smartlowit, council member Sam Jim, cultural resources program manager Johnson Meninick, Jerry Meninick, and council member Gerry Lewis. Photo from Darla Leslie / Yakama Nation Review

Tribal leaders welcomed a decision to deny a key permit for a controversial coal export terminal in eastern Oregon.

The Yakama Nation, the Umatilla Tribes and the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission oppose the project. They say it will harm usual and accustomed fishing sites that are promised to them by treaty.

“This decision is one that we can all celebrate, Carlos Smith, the chairman of the CRITFC, said in a pres release. "It reaffirms the tribal treaty right to fish, is in the best interest of the Columbia Basin’s salmon populations, and our communities."

Ambre Energy wants to build a rail-to-barge facility as part of an ambitious project that involves shipping coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. But the Oregon Department of State Lands said the company failed to address the impacts on tribal fishing sites.

“From reading more than 20,000 public comments to carefully analyzing technical documents and plans, this application has been scrutinized for months. We believe our decision is the right one, considering our regulatory parameters laid out in Oregon law, and the wealth of information we have received from the applicant and the public," Mary Abrams, the department's director said in a press release.

The company said it was considering its next steps, including a possible appeal.

Get the Story:
Oregon nixes permit for coal export project opposed by Yakamas (The Yakima Herald-Republic 8/19)
Oregon Department of State Lands rejects Ambre Energy coal export permit, dealing major blow (The Oregonian 8/19)
Oregon rejects key permit for Boardman coal export facility (The Longview Daily News 8/19)
Bad news for Big Coal: Oregon rejects proposed export terminal (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8/18)
Oregon agency rejects coal terminal on Columbia River (AP 8/18)

Related Stories:
NWPR: Umatilla Tribes protest plans for coal shipping terminal (7/11)
KUOW: Yakama Nation opposes coal terminal on fishing grounds (5/21)