Oregon regulators plan to make a critical decision today. They're deciding whether to deny a permit for a coal export dock in Boardman to preserve tribal fishing on the Columbia River.
The Morrow Pacific coal export project needs a permit from the state to build a dock for coal barges, but members of the Yakima and Umatilla tribes said they fish at the proposed dock site. Project backer Ambre Energy disputes that claim.
Now the state of Oregon has to weigh in. The tribes have asked the state to deny the permit.
Julie Curtis is with the Oregon Department of State Lands. She said her agency can deny the permit if it finds that the dock would unreasonably interfere with fishing in the Columbia River.
"When tribes bring an issue like this to us, we certainly take it very seriously and look at it,” Curtis said. “We've had to look at many, many details, so it's certainly been very time consuming."
The state delayed the decision from an earlier deadline in May.
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