At the March 25th City Council meeting, Salem Mayor Anna M. Peterson and Salem City Council authorized a letter to be sent to Governor John Kitzhaber supporting his position on the matter of trains carrying coal through Salem.

The letter, drafted by the mayor, endorsed Kitzhaber’s April 2012 request that the Secretary of the Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers conduct a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before millions of tons are sent by train through the Pacific Northwest to ports for shipment to Asia.

“Please know,” the City’s letter said, “that the City of Salem is supportive of your efforts to ensure that coal export proposals that may impact our region are thoughtfully and objectively examined.”

The letter was approved unanimously by City Council.  When sent to the governor, it will include resolutions written by every Salem Neighborhood Associations who has expressed either reservations about the negative impacts of coal, or support for the governor’s EIS request.   As of March 25th, fifteen of Salem’s eighteen neighborhood associations had taken this position, and representatives of several were in attendance.

Council Chambers were crowded with about 60 area constituents who supported the Mayor’s letter.

All who addressed the Council on the matter during the public comment period were in support of it.  Among them were retired physician, Dr. Hans West, Rev. Dr. Janet Parker, Senior Pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ and a Willamette University student.

The Mayor’s letter concludes by asking that the Governor keep the City apprised of any actions taken at the federal level in response to his request for environmental study.