A coalition of local residents, grassroots environmental and clean-energy groups appealed the dredging permit in part due to concerns about the harmful impacts on Coos Bay waterways that serve as salmon and oyster habitat that in turn support commercial and recreational fisheries. The permit authorizes the single largest dredging project in an estuary the state has ever approved.
Oregonians are concerned about potential economic and public health consequences of allowing coal and liquefied natural gas exports at the Port of Coos Bay. Mile-long, open-top coal trains could pass through communities in the Portland area, Eugene, the Columbia Gorge and along the coast, exposing families to toxic coal dust and increasing the risk of respiratory illness.
Local residents, community leaders and environmental groups are also alarmed by the lack of transparency from the State and Port of Coos Bay regarding potential coal exports. Public records requests filed by concerned parties have been met by unclear answers from the Port.
In June 2011, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber commented on the concerns with development fossil fuel export terminals, saying that coal export development in Oregon “should not happen in the dead of night. We must have an open, vigorous public debate before any projects move forward.”
Appellants included Climate Solutions, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace, all members of the Power Past Coal coalition and working to stop coal export off the West Coast. Earthjustice, another Power Past Coal coalition member, is representing the groups in the appeal.
A copy of the appeal can be found here.