PORTLAND -- Coal export opponents are holding a noon rally Monday at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, led by environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Columbia Riverkeepers, the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions and Greenpeace are sponsoring the rally and fighting a half-dozen proposals to ship coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia through Northwest ports.

The opponents warn of local problems from coal dust and long coal trains. They also say expanding Asian access to American coal would be bad for the world environment.

It poisons your democracy, it poisons your community, it poisons your values. What I would say to you is coal is crime, do not let it come through this community, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said during the rally. So why are we taking this American coal and sending it over to China so they can send us back the acid rain and the mercury to poison our fish?That s something we shouldn t be doing.

Coal export supporters have argued that the environmental concerns have been addressed and that increasing exports also creates jobs.

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