Proposed Coal Terminal on Pig's Eye Lake

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Proposed coal terminal on Pig's Eye Lake. Proponents speak to the excellent access to railways and the need for low-sulfur coal. The port authority says that sufficient gas is not available. The plan calls for development of open space land for recreational purposes and they claim that there'll be no environmental impact of the development. Opposition would like to preserve the area entirely for wildlife and is the last undeveloped area in the region. Further public hearings will be held.


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GREG BARRON: The proposed facility is designed to accept coal coming in from Montana by rail for loading onto barges on the Mississippi. From there, the coal will be shipped to markets along the river to the South. The controversy is coming to a head today as the Port Authority convened a public hearing to take testimony from those who want to see the terminal built and those who don't.

Pigs Eye Lake is just about two miles south of the Saint Paul skyline and adjacent to the east bank of the Mississippi. With the exception of a sewage treatment plant, the area surrounding the lake is almost completely underdeveloped, or I should say, undeveloped. And most people seem to agree the time has come for development, either for recreational purposes or for industry.

Proponents of the coal terminal say that because of excellent railroad access, costs to coal users will be greatly reduced. Furthermore, they say the facility is absolutely necessary to supply the need for low sulfur coal, available from Montana, to reduce the level of pollution from existing coal burning electric generator plants down along the river. The Port Authority says natural gas isn't available in sufficient quantities for use by the electric plants, and the construction of railroad spurs to deliver the coal directly would be too expensive to be practical.

Proponents for the development say also that the plan calls for development of some open space land in the area to be used for recreational purposes. One private environmental consultant said the coal terminal will have virtually no detrimental effect on the environment, either in terms of wildlife or in terms of such things as noise and water pollution. Opposition to the coal terminal has come from individuals and groups wanting to preserve the area entirely for wildlife and recreational use. It's been said that the area is one of the last major open regions in the metropolitan area and should be improved to encourage more wildlife and vegetation.

Just a few moments ago here at the Saint Paul City Council chambers, a representative of the League of Women Voters registered opposition to the coal terminal and said further public hearings should be held to determine the best use for the area. And at this moment, the hearings continue. At a public hearing of the Saint Paul Port Authority, discussing plans for Pigs Eye Lake, this is Greg Barron.


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