In a victory for pro-coal supporters, the US Army Corps of Engineers has indicated that it will not conduct a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) review of a proposed Oregon coal export terminal.

The National Environmental Policy Act (PL 91-190) requires the army corps to review proposed federal actions that could have a significant environmental impact. An EIS is more comprehensive than an environmental assessment, which requires less detail, but still allows for the possibility of an EIS later if necessary. In a July 2012 letter, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley requested a comprehensive EIS of all proposed export facilities in Oregon. Echoing Merkley's concerns, Oregon's senior senator, Ron Wyden, predicted that a full EIS in the future is likely.

The combination of inexpensive natural gas and issuance of more stringent air rules has increased the debate regarding the export of US coal, a vast domestic natural resource. Opponents remain concerned that its export will further contribute to global climate change.

For further information on this topic please contact Catherine Karen at Sidley Austin LLP by telephone (+1 713 315 9000), fax (+1 713 315 9199) or email (ckaren@sidley.com).

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