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Last Remaining Investor Bails Out On Coos Bay Coal Export Plan

April 1, 2013 | OPB
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Bonnie Stewart


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  • A proposed coal export terminal on the southern Oregon Coast hit a major setback when the last investor pulled out of the deal. It's one of five proposed terminals that would ship coal from trains like this one leaving a Wyoming mine. credit: Katie Campbell
A proposed coal export terminal on the southern Oregon Coast hit a major setback when the last investor pulled out of the deal. It's one of five proposed terminals that would ship coal from trains like this one leaving a Wyoming mine. | credit: Katie Campbell | rollover image for more

The last investor in the proposed coal export terminal for the southern Oregon coast has pulled out of the deal.

The Metropolitan Stevedore Co. allowed its exclusive negotiating agreement with the Port of Coos Bay to expire Sunday.

Opponents celebrated the latest blow to an effort to turn Coos Bay into a coal export hub. In a statement issued by the anti-coal export group, Power Past Coal, local activist David Petrie noted that this is the second such proposal to collapse. Last year, RailAmerica withdrew its proposal for an export terminal in Grays Harbor, Wash.

Power Past Coal attributed the flight of coal-export investors to the mounting opposition from local communities, health professionals, businesses and elected officials, as well as fluctuating markets for coal. It said proponents for export terminals on Puget Sound and the Columbia River should take heed.

“it is hard to imagine that anyone would want to risk getting in bed with risky and desperate coal industry,” the group quoted Petrie as saying. He’s director of Coos Waterkeeper.

Although the Coos Bay project’s three private backers have walked away, port spokeswoman Elise Hamner says that doesn’t mean new partners won’t be found for a coal export terminal.

“As we go forward, we’re going to have an internal discussion about marine cargo opportunities and certainly anybody who was involved in the past could potentially say they want to make a proposal,” she said.

Metro Port’s original partners, Mitsui, an international trading firm, and the Korean Electric Power Corporation walked away from the project in early March.

The Coos Bay project is one of five coal export terminals proposed in Oregon and Washington.

Here’s the background on the Coos Bay proposal, from EarthFix’s Coal Scorecard: Your Guide To Coal In The Northwest.

Project Mainstay: Port of Coos Bay, Ore.

The port is in negotiations with Metro Ports, a stevedoring and terminal management company based in California, and Mitsui, a large international trading company involved with commodities.

Coos Bay, Ore. Locator Map

Players: Metro Ports (Mitsui and Korean Electric Power Corp. dropped out).

Full Capacity: to be reached by 2023

Export Plans: 11 million short tons/year

Trains: 4 trains (2 full and 2 empty)

Train Cars: 600/day

Vessels: 200/year

What’s Next: The Port of Coos Bay is regrouping after all three of its business partners — Metropolitan Stevedore Co., Mitsui and the Korean Electric Power Corp. — dropped out of negotiations in March, 2013. the port is not ruling out a restart with new or returning negotiating partners. To proceed, the port and private companies would need to acquire land on the North Spit from the Port and negotiate deal over access to the rail line, or decide to walk away from the project. The Port is seeking dredging permits from government regulators. The dredging would deepen the channel to accomodate vessels carrying a variety of commodities, which could include coal.



© 2013 OPB
NW coal Coal in the NW Port of Coos Bay coal terminal coal export terminal
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