Eugene City councilors are considering a resolution opposing the transport of coal through their city. They heard Monday from a panel of four, including a mayor who’s hoping that coal will pass through Eugene and deliver more jobs to his coastal town.
Before the meeting, coal transport opponents gathered outside the Eugene Public Library.
Inside, the council heard from Keith Tymchuk, the Mayor of Reedsport, who urges support for a coal terminal in Coos Bay.
“Many towns and cities along the Oregon coast have never recovered from the depression of the early ‘80s,” Tymchuck said. “Now the great recession is cutting us to the bone. We need lasting jobs. We need family jobs. We need economic opportunity.”
Tymchuck says a coal export terminal and the jobs supporting it would be a boon to Reedsport’s economy.
Dr. Andy Harris of Physicians for Social Responsibility argues transporting coal through the northwest will hurt communities and contribute to global warming. Harris says there is nothing clean about coal.
“So coal dust has toxic metals like mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium,” Harris said. “We know it is a trigger for asthma and it causes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Clearly, Eugene residents don’t want to breathe coal dust in the air and have it settle in their gardens and yards.”
Port of Coos Bay CEO David Koch says the plans already include coal dust mitigation and other safety measures.
Eugene city councilors will decide on the resolution, which also asks for more study of the environmental and health impacts at their October 22 meeting.
(This was first reported by KLCC.)
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