Is the PNW About to Become a Fossil Fuel Export Corridor?

coal-train1-300x222Will the Pacific Northwest become a fossil fuel export corridor? There are plans for over 15 different projects that would foster infrastructure for not just oil, but also coal and natural gas exports, to be brought through Oregon by train and pipeline.

The Keystone XL pipeline from Canada is a similar project that has been in the national news a lot for the past couple of years, and will continue to be for at least a few more. For environmentalists, it’s a no-brainer; the pipeline will be another environmental catastrophe, they say. For people looking to boost the economy, it’s equally a no-brainer; the pipeline will be a mint, printing money and providing jobs for the United States.

These Oregon plans are not nearly as well-known as the ones on the national stage, but proponents and opponents of the projects contend they’re every bit as important.

On Friday, March 7, the Corvallis Public Library will host two environmentalists who will talk about the projects and give impassioned pleas for Oregonians to block their development.

Dan Serres is the conservation director of Columbia Riverkeeper, and works primarily to protect the Columbia River from these types of projects. The main concerns he will highlight in his talk are the danger to salmon habitats, the risk to communities living on or near the Columbia, and the exacerbation of climate change issues, which he contends these oil projects will cause.

Laura Stevens is a representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. She will be speaking about the effort to prevent the building of infrastructure that will catalyze coal export from Oregon and Washington. She specializes in alternatives to coal energy and trying to get us off coal and onto clean energy.

“The Pacific Northwest as Fossil Fuel Export Corridor” talk begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 7 at the Corvallis Public Library. Admission is free.

by Ygal Kaufman

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