Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is asking federal agencies to study the environmental impacts of coal exports from the West Coast.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is asking federal agencies to study the environmental impacts of coal exports from the West Coast.

In a keynote speech at the Future Energy Conference in Portland, the governor expressed “grave” concerns about exporting coal through the Pacific Northwest.

Coal export terminals are proposed at three Oregon ports -- at Boardman, St. Helens and Coos Bay -- and at the Washington ports of Longview, Grays Harbor and Bellingham.

Much of the coal would come from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana and be shipped overseas.

But Kitzhaber says the federal agencies leasing public land for coal mining have not analyzed the impacts of exporting coal through West Coast terminals.

"Today I've asked the federal government to prepare a full, programmatic environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Protection Act to examine the effects of coal transport to the West Coast and the use of coal for electricity production in Asia before any further permitting or leasing decisions are made," Kitzhaber says.

Kitzhaber says Oregon and Washington could see more air and water pollution along the coal export routes.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.