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.
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