A new report from the Sightline Institute about energy conglomerate Kinder Morgan reveals the company’s track record of pollution, lawbreaking, and cover-ups. As Eric de Place writes, the company’s troubling history is especially concerning for residents of the Pacific Northwest, as Kinder Morgan is among the companies seeking to develop massive new projects to export US coal to Asia through Oregon and Washington:
In January, Kinder Morgan—a giant energy conglomerate—announced plans to use an Oregon port on the Columbia River to export 30 million tons of coal annually to China and other Asian markets. Many in the Northwest worry about the health risks, pollution, and economic risks that are entailed by the plans. Already tribes and environmental organizations are raising serious concerns about handling large volumes of coal on the Columbia.
One part of the report focuses on Kinder Morgan’s Myrtle Grove facility in Louisiana, and the coal dust from that coal export terminal polluting the Mississippi river – even visible from satellite photos. I saw this facility up close when Greenpeace’s ship passed by on our way up river to New Orleans in 2010, and wrote about it and the other fossil fuel infrastructure that scars the Mississippi Delta. It was disturbing and striking to witness so much coal – at the time the facility could store over 1 million tons. The Myrtle Grove export terminal will be even bigger soon – the company last year announced a deal with Massey Energy, the notorious coal mining company and a major destroyer of Appalachian Mountains, to expand the facility and ship six million tons of coal each year. (Alpha purchased Massey Energy last year).