Albany’s city council, to its credit, is not on record today against coal trains. On Wednesday night the council voted to table a resolution “to oppose the transport of coal through Albany.”
Councilor Bessie Johnson’s motion to table called for the measure to come up again in two weeks, on April 10. She said she wanted to do more research on the coal issue on her own. But Councilor Floyd Collins was skeptical. What would the council be able to learn in two weeks that it didn’t know now? He and others, including Mayor Sharon Konopa, seemed to prefer shelving the resolution altogether and relying on state officials, including the Oregon and Washington governors, who have already asked the federal government to do a thorough economic, social and environmental analysis of transporting coal from the Rockies to Asia via Northwest ports.
Councilor Rich Kellum was the most outspoken against the anti-coal resolution and its backers in the audience. He questioned some of their claims — on coal dust and other points.
If the measure never comes back to the council, it hardly matters. The plan to develop a coal export terminal at Coos Bay seems to have run out of steam, and with it the notion that coal trains would roll down the valley from Portland. As I’ve observed here before, coal trains through Albany are one problem the council does not have to worry about. (hh)