PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The ongoing debate over coal exports in Oregon took over Pionneer Square for two hours Saturday as protesters linked together to form a map of Oregon with a message inside:
“No Coal Exports.”
The protesters aimed their message directly at Gov. John Kitzhaber and the Department of State Lands which is deciding whether to allow millions of tons of coal to be channeled through the state on its way to Asia.
Coal supporters claim it will bring jobs to the state. The current unemployment rate is 7%.
Critics maintain Oregon can do better.
“There’s confusion this is the way forward with jobs,” said anti-coal activist Ryan Manion. Oregonians deserve jobs that reflect values, (are) sustainable and won’t create future problems. We deserve a better future, better jobs than this.”
In February, the Oregon DEQ issued three key permits for the coal export project, but they still need the go ahead from the Department of State Lands.