Plans for Washington coal export terminal shelved

RailAmerica said this week it has shelved plans to build a coal export facility in Grays Harbor, Wash.

RailAmerica said this week it has shelved plans to build a coal export facility in Grays Harbor, Wash.

Plans for one of the half-dozen coal export facilities proposed in the Pacific Northwest have been shelved. RailAmerica will no longer pursue construction of a facility that was expected to handle 5 million tons of coal per year out of the Port of Grays Harbor.

A report in The Daily World.com said that the port's commissioners on Tuesday were told that RailAmerica, would no longer be exercising an agreement giving it access to study the potential for a coal terminal, although the rail company still plans to partner with the Port on future projects. The company had been working on the project since January 2011.

A spokesman for RailAmerica, Paul Queary, told The Daily World that the company had decided to shelve the coal export plans in favor of another project that "would come to fruition more swiftly than the coal terminal."

The news was cheered by groups opposed to the coal export facilities.

"We are so glad to see Grays Harbor embrace a better path forward than a coal export terminal," said Becky Kelley, a spokeswoman for the Power Past Coal coalition of organizations opposed to the industry. "We agree with RailAmerica that there are other opportunities which will create more jobs and more enduring economic benefits for the community."

Another coal export plan that's based in Oregon, Ambre Energy's Morrow Pacific project, is awaiting a decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that could delay plans for the $250 million facility in the Port of St. Helens and the Port of Morrow.

Opponents to the projects are calling for the corps to conduct a comprehensive study that would project the environmental impacts of all the projects proposed in the region including Longview and Cherry Point in Washington, Coos Bay in Oregon and a pair of proposals along the Columbia River.

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