The battle over coal has spread from where it is mined or burned to generate electricity to the possible points from which it could be exported.

Last April, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army “to request that a federal agency prepare a programmatic and comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)… to look at the unprecedented number of coal export proposals pending in the Pacific Northwest as well as the potential effect in this country of the use of this coal in Asia.” The issues and tone of Kitzhaber’s letter makes clear he is not focused upon the economic benefits of coal exports but is raising environmental issues.

Kitzhaber’s missive came on the heels of similar comments sent from the EPA Regional office in Seattle to the Army Corps of Engineers. Kate Kelly, the Director of Ecosystems, Tribal and Public Affairs, submitted comments in response to a public notice for a permit application under the Rivers and Harbors Act. The permit application was for a coal transloading facility proposed for the Port of Morrow, Ore.