Target: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Goal: Thank Governor Kitzhaber for opposing new coal export terminals on the Oregon coast
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has recently come out in favor of opposing a new coal export terminal planned for construction on the Columbia River in the town of Boardman. The terminal, proposed by an Australia-based company called Ambre Energy, would have exported up to 8.8 million tons of dirty energy to volatile markets in China and India. The coal would have been shipped by rail from giant mines in Wyoming and Montana, causing railway congestion and pollution in every town along the way.
Although coal is still currently the largest source of energy in the U.S., the meteoric rise in renewables in the past decade combined with the continued development of cheaper natural gas has been predicted to drive down coal’s share of electricity generation to 38 percent in the next 25 years. Because the U.S. market for coal is flat, the continued growth for mining companies here is contingent on supplying this cheap, dirty energy to Asian countries with fewer pollution standards or environmental qualms. Allowing the proposed export terminals would extend an undeserved lifeline to an inefficient, archaic fuel that should be well on its way to obsolescence.
The largest of these mines is the Black Thunder mine in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, which is also the largest surface mine in North America. Although they claim they have been important job creators, these mines have repeatedly dodged union representation in the U.S. and cut workers in favor of investing in larger and larger equipment to do the actual work. While exporting coal would encourage further mining in the area, these jobs would come at the expense of more local and sustainable jobs in ranching, recreation, and wildlife management. Further mining would also continue to negatively impact wildlife that depend on these rangelands, including threatened species like the pronghorn antelope and the greater sage-grouse.
Right now, there is not a single coal export terminal in the Pacific Northwest. Thank Governor Kitzhaber for working to keep it that way.
Dear Governor Kitzhaber,
Your rejection of Ambre Energy’s permit request for a coal exporting terminal sends a clear message to dirty energy in the Pacific Northwest and around the world: We will no longer allow corporate profits to determine acceptable levels of air pollution, water pollution, or carbon pollution for the rest of us.
Coal is an inefficient and obsolete energy source, and our future depends on moving away from fossil fuels and embracing a clean energy economy. Thank you for rejecting profits over pollution and standing up for the right of all living things to inhabit a planet that is conducive to their survival.
[Your Name Here]
Original petition: Deny Permit Request for Coal Export Terminal
Photo credit: Ian Britton via Freefoto.com