Environmental groups appeal Columbia River port expansion

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Environmental groups continue to try to block the expansion of a Columbia River port, the latest in the ongoing debate over natural areas and oil and gas terminals in the state.

With a Wednesday appeal, Columbia River Keeper and another group asked state authorities not to allow the re-classification of 837 acres of farmland near the Port of St. Helens for industrial use, citing both the loss of farmland and the potential for the site to be used for handling crude oil or natural gas.

A port official acknowledged both would be allowed under the broad reclassification, but said commissioners aren’t planning either for the site.